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Singing star Katherine Jenkins named sponsor of Navy’s new warship HMS Cardiff

Katherine Jenkins tries on her HMS Cardiff cap with Express's CO Lieutenant Ryan Price
25 August 2023
Katherine Jenkins was today revealed as the official sponsor of the Royal Navy’s next-generation submarine hunter HMS Cardiff.

The Welsh mezzo-soprano – the biggest selling classical artist this century – has agreed to become an ambassador for the frigate and all who serve aboard.

The Navy invited Katherine to take up this honour – a life-long commitment – due to her work with the Armed Forces around the globe over the past two decades, including twice performing on the UK’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The singer was treated to a tour of the waters around Cardiff courtesy of Royal Navy patrol boat HMS Express – the only British warship permanently based in Wales – as she was formally introduced as HMS Cardiff’s sponsor, then was shown around HMS Cambria, the Navy’s headquarters in Wales, at Cardiff Docks.

She said: “I have always felt it such a privilege to support His Majesty’s Armed Forces and their families, and the experiences I have had with them over almost 20 years will forever be amongst my most cherished.

“Inspired by all those I have met so far, and humbled by this wonderful invitation, I am honoured to be announced as the Sponsor of HMS Cardiff.

“A lifelong role, I look forward to making more memories through this impressive new ship and serving with love and dedication.

“This is a particularly proud and poignant moment for me given that my Dad was part of the Navy. It feels like a real full-circle moment, and I know that he will be with me today.”

This is a particularly proud and poignant moment for me given that my Dad was part of the Navy. It feels like a real full-circle moment, and I know that he will be with me today.

Katherine Jenkins

A Ship’s Sponsor is an honorary title and role which historically served to bestow good luck and divine protection upon a ship.

Regarded as a permanent member of the ship’s company, sponsors attend key moments in a vessel’s life – such as launch, commissioning ceremonies, homecomings from operational missions – are kept regularly informed of the sailors’ activities and deeds, send messages of support in return in hard and challenging times, and generally act as ambassadors for and champions of the crew and their ship.

It is a role often, but not exclusively, performed by royalty – the Princess of Wales is the sponsor of HMS Cardiff’s sister ship HMS Glasgow – or prominent citizens, such as the wives/partners of senior military figures and political leaders.

HMS Cardiff is the second of eight new submarine-hunting frigates – the Type 26 or City class – being built on the River Clyde to protect UK waters, the nation’s strategic nuclear deterrent and most important surface ships, such as aircraft carrier strike groups, from the latest underwater threats.

The new ship currently sits on the hardstanding at BAE Systems’ facility in Govan – her huge bow and stern sections were joined over the summer – as construction and fitting out continues, with the first of the frigate’s 160-or-so crew yet to join.

Due to enter service later this decade and be operational for at least a quarter of a century, in addition to her principal submarine hunting role, HMS Cardiff will be able to launch commando raids, board and search operations, launch and recover drones, provide relief to areas hit by natural disasters, conduct evacuations and many other duties expected of Royal Navy warships patrolling the globe.

HMS Cardiff is already affiliated with her namesake city following a visit by civic leaders to Govan to see progress on the ship earlier this month.

Brigadier Jock Fraser Royal Marines, Naval Regional Commander for Wales, Western England and the Channel Islands, who has helped forge ties between the new ship and her namesake city, said:

“It was a real honour to formally welcome Katherine to the naval family on behalf of the First Sea Lord today. Our ships’ sponsors fulfil an historic and important role in the service of a Royal Navy ship.

“We are thrilled that Katherine will be the ship’s sponsor for HMS Cardiff which is affiliated to the capital city of Wales. I am certain that she will be an outstanding advocate for the ship wherever HMS Cardiff serves around the globe.

“Having recently visited HMS Cardiff in-build, I know that Katherine can look forward to supporting a ship’s company working in a world-leading vessel.”

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