Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales arrives back into Portsmouth (Picture: Alamy).
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HMS Prince of Wales remains on high alert on Portsmouth return

The British aircraft carrier has been leading NATO's Maritime High Readiness Force amid the Ukraine crisis.

Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales arrives back into Portsmouth (Picture: Alamy).

A Royal Navy aircraft carrier has returned to its home base as it remains on high alert to respond to the Ukraine crisis.

Well-wishers lined the harbour walls to welcome HMS Prince of Wales as she sailed into Portsmouth Naval Base having completed a period of at-sea exercises.

The 65,000-tonne warship was appointed the command ship of NATO's Maritime High Readiness Force in January.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced earlier this week that the carrier was on alert to be deployed in response to the ongoing crisis in eastern Europe as part of a wider UK military contribution to support Ukraine.

He said in a statement released by Downing Street: "It is on standby to move within hours should tensions rise further."

The UK has taken over from France to run the NATO task force which is formed to deal with major global incidents.

The task force will be run for the next 12 months by Commander UK Strike Force – the most senior sea-going staff of the Royal Navy headed by Rear Admiral Mike Utley.

HMS Prince of Wales is scheduled to spend a period at its home base before departing again next month to take part in an international exercise off Norway.