On 5th March 1936 King Edward VIII (formerly the Prince of Wales) paid an extended tour of inspection of Queen Mary, at the shipyard. He was accompanied by Donald Skiffington, the shipyard director. He not only visited the Cabin Class areas as planned, he then insisted on touring the rest of the ship including the third class and the crew’s quarters. In all he spent over three hours aboard.
When the King and his party left, the ship’s sirens sounded for the first time, in salute to the occasion. In his private diary, the King later recorded: “The completion of … Queen Mary was an important public event in 1936. Early in March, while the vessel was undergoing her final fitting-out, I travelled to Glasgow with the object of calling the world’s attention to this stupendous product of British industrial skill.”
It was his father, King George V, at his speech during the launch in September 1934, who had given the liner the nickname that would stay with her all her working life: “The Stateliest Ship”.