Priceless QE2 memorabilia rescued for display on new Queen Elizabeth

//Priceless QE2 memorabilia rescued for display on new Queen Elizabeth

asprey.jpgWhen Cunard liner QE2 was sailed off to retirement in Dubai almost two years ago, she took with her a hoard of precious artwork and memories. New owners Nakheel had paid $100 million to buy the ship lock, stock and barrel, and that included countless precious items which the ship’s fans feared they might never see again.
Now some of them have been recovered and will be on display aboard the company’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, which will be named by the Queen on October 11.
Pride of place must go to the 42-inch solid silver model of the QE2 from the liner’s Midships Lobby. When I crossed the Atlantic in January 2008, Captain Ian McNaught told me that if he could choose just one item from the ship to take home it would be that. Which may have been because of its beaut, or it may have been because, at 275 ozs, it contains a whole lot of precious metal.
On Queen Elizabeth, the model , which took 1,800 hours of painstaking work by silversmiths at Bond Street jewellers Asprey, will be displayed in the Yacht Club, a circular bar on Deck 10. It will be joined by the original builder’s plaque from the QE2’s wardroom, and the ship’s bell which hung on B stairway.
Other items recovered from Dubai – thanks in large part to the efforts of energetic PR executive and diehard QE2 fan Michael Gallagher – include a bust of The Queen by sculptor Oscar Nemon and the Royal Standard, which will be placed in the new vessel’s Queen’s Room.
On display at the tour desk will be the art deco plaques listing all the masters of the QE2 and original Queen Elizabeth, built in 1936.
The apparent obsession with her predecessors – even down to Queen Elizabeth being given QE2’s old call sign, GBTT – is at odds with Cunard’s insistence that the ship should not be seen as a replacement for her illustrious predecessor. Flagship of the fleet remains Queen Mary 2, whose maiden voyage was in 2004.
Perhaps all will be explained by a cryptic message spelled out by maritime signal flags and displayed around the frieze of the Yacht Club (below). I shall have to take my Observer Book of Flags with me to the launch ceremony and try to translate it.
There will be plenty of new artwork on Queen Elizabeth as well. We have been shown the David Linley marquetry panel and the Isobel Peachey portrait of the Queen which will adorn the Grand Lobby, and I am looking forward to seeing oil paintings by maritime artist Robert Lloyd which will be hung in the Commodore Club and the forward stairwells.
The ship was handed over to Cunard this morning by builders Fincantieri at their Monfalcone yard near Trieste and will be sailing later today. She is due to arrive in Southampton on October 8, where she will be berthed at the Ocean Cruise Terminal.
After the naming ceremony on October 11, she leaves on her maiden voyage to the Canary Islands the following day.
Ferry company Red Funnel is laying on special trips to view the vessel’s arrival and departure.
On October 8, Red Jet departs Southampton’s Terminal 2 at 10:30 for an hour-long tour. Tickets £8 for adults, £6 seniors and £4 children. On October 12 Red Jet leaves Town Quay at 16:00 for a two-hour tour during which Queen Elizabeth will depart under a spectacular shower of fireworks. Tickets £45 adults, £32 seniors, £25 children) include a light buffet. The ferry Red Eagle will also depart at 16:00 and will follow Queen Elizabeth down Southampton Water, returning at 18:30. Tickets £30, £22 and £15.
For further information and to book, go to or call 0844 8449988.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:20+00:00 30 September 2010|Cruise News|3 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.


  1. Rob Lightbody 30 September 2010 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    I think its a terrible shame that the items have been removed from QE2 as she continues to seek a future role. I believe that removing them, decreases the chance of a successful future role being found for QE2. Her bare interiors will be less attractive to people looking to do something with her.
    These items were designed for QE2, some of them were designed for the specific location they were placed on QE2, and there they should remain until the day she is scrapped.
    I am sorry to be so negative, but I want QE2 to be saved, like the SS Rotterdam. She is not dead, yet, so to remove items from her like this just seems wrong.

  2. Isabelle Prondzynski 30 September 2010 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    These items will be displayed out of context on the new Queen Elizabeth, and cannot have the same meaning there that they have on QE2. As for QE2, she will be bereft without them, part of her essence taken away and her attractiveness for new ventures reduced. I hope that this is only a time-limited loan to the new ship, and that they will be restored to QE2 in the near future.

  3. Allen R Pellymounter 5 October 2010 at 2:33 am - Reply

    If The QE2 were guaranteed a future without radical modification, I would agree with those that are concerned about the items being removed. Unfortunately, the day She was transferred to the owners in Dubai, She entered the realm of “of anything goes”. The last two years have have been unnerving for us all, as we have watched for the handful of news reports on the QE2’s status.
    And, we all heard of the initial plans to remove her funnel, add extra levels with balconies, etc., all of it far more concerning than a 4 or 5 items coming back to Cunard for the new ship. ‘Ever heard of the old saying, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”? I wish I had a better feeling about the QE2’s future, but I am just not that optimistic.
    Plus, some of the most beloved items still on the QE2 were not built or designed for the her anyway; they were on ships like the ‘Green Goddess’ and the RMS Queen Elizabeth. The Large Mauritania outside the Caronia Restaurant is over 100 years old, 60 plus years older than the QE2. I fear for these items… Cunard should never have let them go.

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