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The Princess Royal joins assault ship Albion on exercises in Scotland

HRH Princess Anne visited HMS Albion during the ship's two-week exercise off the Scottish coast. Picture: LPhot Barry Swainsbury
28 September 2021
The Princess Royal, Sponsor of HMS Albion, visited her warship to watch the largest military exercise in the UK this autumn.

The Princess Royal launched the assault ship in Barrow back in 2001, and spent the visit catching up with the sailors and Royal Marines taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior off the Scottish coast. 

Flown in by an RAF Chinook helicopter from 27 Squadron, Albion’s Lady Sponsor witnessed the ship conducting amphibious operations as part of the two-week-long international exercise, before presenting a number of Long Service and Good Conduct awards. 

Royal Marine Warrant Officer 2nd Class Michael Costema, HMS Albion’s Assault Squadron Sergeant Major, received his 1st Long Service and Good Conduct Clasp – recognition of 35 years’ service – having received his medal from The Princess Royal on the bridge of HMS Albion in April 2011.

“This is the second time I have had the honour of receiving my Long Service and Good Conduct award from Princess Anne, and both times onboard HMS Albion,” he said.

“To have her present me with my Long Service and Good Conduct medal, and now my first Clasp 10 years later, is such a memorable way to mark this milestone”.

The following day The Princess Royal spent the morning watching HMS Albion’s ‘party piece’: landing craft operations while the ship was ‘docked-down’ off the Isle of Skye.

On completion, Her Royal Highness addressed the ship’s company on the flight deck against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish coastline, praising them for maintaining operational output during the pandemic, and paying tribute to the support of the wider naval families.


It’s always such a fantastic time for any ship’s company to have their Lady Sponsor onboard, and even more special to be able to do it at sea

Captain Simon Kelly, HMS Albion’s Commanding Officer

The Princess also highlighted the work that HMS Albion had done in supporting its chosen charity, Claire House, a hospice which helps seriously and terminally-ill children live life to the full by creating wonderful experiences and bringing back a sense of normality to family life.
During the visit, The Princess met many members of the ship’s company in their work spaces, from the galley to the forward engine room.

“It was amazing to have a member of the Royal Family onboard. I have been onboard HMS Albion now for nine months and had many great experiences. However, meeting Princess Anne is the highlight,” said Engineering Technician Louise Downing, a Communication and Information Specialist from Plymouth, serving on her first ship.

The Princess Royal had met members of the ship’s company at the Tower of London as they participated in the Ceremony of the Constable’s Dues earlier this month.

“It’s always such a fantastic time for any ship’s company to have their Lady Sponsor onboard, and even more special to be able to do it at sea,” said Captain Simon Kelly, HMS Albion’s Commanding Officer.

“It was a great honour for us to up-date Her Royal Highness on her ship, and the challenges and successes of its crew. HMS Albion was launched by Princess Anne 20 years ago and I am delighted to demonstrate to her how it continues to deliver as the UK’s High Readiness Amphibious Assault Ship.”


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