Princess Royal

HRH The Princess Royal has helped to mark the formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) 100 years ago.

Princess Anne attended a service of thanksgiving held at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral to commemorate the organisation’s centenary.

The Princess Royal is the Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy.

She has also unveiled a commemorative stone situated in the grounds of the Cathedral which depicts the shapes of four female navy uniform hats, taken from across the last 100 years.

Cathedral Service

Admiral Sir Philip Jones, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, said of the service:

“I am pleased that we are able to commemorate the contribution of women in the Royal Navy over the past century, through this Service of Thanksgiving and with the unveiling of a new memorial stone in Portsmouth Cathedral.

“I’m proud to lead a Royal Navy where women serve as engineers and pilots, divers and submariners; where they have been recognised for their courage under fire and have risen to command fighting ships and major shore establishments.

"We now look forward to welcoming the first women into the general duties branch of the Royal Marines in the near future.

WRNS Centenary Stone

“However, we must never forget the pioneering women whose dedication, courage and skill made all this possible, and whose example remains a source of inspiration and pride within the Naval Service today.”

The WRNS was commissioned in the First World War, on 29th November 1917, to aid the war effort.

Their first leader was Dame Katherine Furse; she and the organisation as a whole helped to break down the gender barriers for the following generations.

Now, of course, women are no longer confined to a supporting role and are employed across all branches of the military.

2017 also marks the 25th Anniversary since women musicians were permitted to serve alongside their male counterparts in HM Royal Marines Band Service.