Huge aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales returns home after NATO exercise

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Well-wishers lined the harbor walls to welcome Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales as it returns from practice in its role as a NATO command ship.

The 65,000-ton warship sailed at Portsmouth Naval Base, Hampshire, on Saturday after operating with a Spanish aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Cádiz.

A Navy spokesman said: “The NATO Task Force – made up of 20 ships from six countries – was assembled ahead of the NATO Madrid summit to show the coalition’s commitment to the prosperity and security of the region.

“HMS Prince of Wales was involved in her role as NATO’s command ship, meaning she is prepared to deploy quickly in response to crises as part of the Coalition’s response force.”

The naval exercise began with a royal salute from the Spanish fleet to King Felipe VI of Spain aboard the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I.

Captain Richard Hewitt, commanding officer of HMS Prince of Wales, said: “It was a real honor to be able to formally recognize the Spanish royal family, saluting King Philip VI from the bridge of HMS Prince of Wales.

“Working with the Spanish Flagship marks another milestone in the operational journey of HMS Prince of Wales, just weeks after our celebration of our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.”

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