Royal Navy ratings Able Seaman Ellie Smith (left) and Able Seaman Jessica Hewes practice raising the Ensign on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth ahead of her commissioning ceremony on Thursday in Portsmouth

Hoisting the White Ensign above HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time will be a day to look back on forever, a young sailor carrying out the honour has said.

The flag is one of the world's most recognisable naval standards and has flown from British warships, boats, bases, and Royal Marine craft for more than 150 years.

Featuring a St George's Cross on a white background and a Union flag in the upper left corner, the White Ensign will be raised above HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time on Thursday.

The process signifies the acceptance of the 65,000-tonne, £3.1 billion behemoth into the Royal Navy, alongside the reading of the commissioning warrant.

Able Seaman Ellie Smith from Hull said she was excited to be tasked with the job of raising the White Ensign, ensuring it unravels slowly as it is hoisted and does not touch the ground.

Queen Elizabeth

"This is something to look back on for the rest of our lives and we can say 'I was there', which will be a really good thing to be able to say."

She said having the Queen on board for the ceremony will be exciting too.

Able Seaman Jessica Hewes from Portsmouth, who pulled the ropes to hoist the flag as the national anthem played, revealed she was a little nervous ahead of the ceremony.

She said she was "just lucky enough" to be picked to carry out the task and described it as "one of the biggest" moments of her career.

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