What's in a name?
The facts about the QE2's various names.
Verified by Cunard's official historian and QE2 expert, Mr. Michael
Gallagher, Cunard Line.
II or 2 ?
Its always a 2, never a II. This is because she's named after
the first Cunard Queen Elizabeth, not Her Majesty. The ship's name
caused controversy at the time of her launch because in Scotland, where
she was built, the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth, was the first one
to reign in Scotland so it was seen as insulting to the country who
built her to call her Queen Elizabeth II.
QE2 or "The QE2"
From before she entered service, until after she ended service, this
was the way the ship was almost always referred to. It was an
acronym that entered the English language in common use in various ways
- for example - "this car takes longer to stop than the QE2".
SS Queen Elizabeth 2
From 1968 until 1986, this was QE2's official designation. SS Stands
for 'Steam Ship'. It was almost never used, however, except in
MV or MS Queen Elizabeth 2
From 1987 until the date when she finally is no longer a registered
ship, this was her designation. It was almost
never used, however, except in official paperwork.
RMS (Royal Mail Ship) ?
Surprisingly, QE2 is not an RMS, and never was.
QE2's predecessors were Royal Mail Ships. Speed was of the
essence, and these ships rushed the mail to New York or Southampton in 4
or 5 days. However even before they retired, this had become
irrelevant. Air travel took over.
QE2 was designed to be radical departure from 'the old', and one of
the ways they tried to ensure this, was to make a deliberate decision to
drop the RMS from her name. Documents from senior Cunard
management at the time testify to this.
Things came full circle in 2004, when Cunard deliberately took the
decision to call the new Queen Mary 2, an RMS. This was precisely
to make her seem more old-fashioned, and, of course, to draw on the
glamour of the old ships and public consciousness of the RMS Titanic.
From Michael Gallagher
"I read a memo at the University of Liverpool (where the
Cunard archive is found) from Cunard Deputy Chairman Lord Mancroft
to Chairman Sir Basil Smallpeice asking him if the New Cunarder
would be designated an 'RMS'. Sir Basil responded saying he thought
she should not be as that was not in keeping with the new modern
image of the ship and that she wouldn't be spending all her time on