Cunard White Star Launch of the “QUEEN ELIZABETH” Tuesday September 1938 [ebook]


Cunard White Star Launch of the “QUEEN ELIZABETH” Tuesday September 1938. Folio, stiff card covers 13”x 10.5”. Bound with pink ribbon.  Unpaginated.  Royal Portraits.  Superb double page etching by Sir Muirhead Bone.  Text of Queen’s speech, message of regret from The King. Stunning full and double page photographs by Stewart Bale Ltd., including theQueen and Princesses watching the launch, the ship gliding down the launching ways and under tow to the fitting out basin A wonderful double page artist’s impression by Norman Wilkinson in colour of the completed ship at sea. There are nine more photos by Bale of the ship under construction, and a three page tinted spread showing the full length of the hull in the John Brown shipyard from a distance.


This is a wonderful example of Art Deco print design at the peak of development. The publication must have been prepared after the event to include the actual launch and postlaunch photos mentioned above although some sections like the front page must have been printed in advance This states that the launch will take place in the presence of the King andQueen but a small tipped in rectangular note printed to the same high standard as the rest reads in part “26th September 1938. At the request of the Prime Minister the King has cancelled his journey to Clydebank tonight…”

What was going on? This was in the middle of Prime Minister Chamberlain’s shuttle diplomacy flights to negotiate with Hitler over the Sudetenland. On 26th Hitler issued an ultimatum expiring at 2pm on the 28ththat his demands be met. It was therefore quite likely that Britain might find itself at war the day after the launch, so it was quite impossible for the King to leave London. One cannot help wondering what was going through the Queen’s mind knowing that peace hung in the balance as she went through with the day’s events.



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