HRH The Princess Royal officially opened the exhibition ‘Pioneers to Professionals: Women and the Royal Navy’ exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard on the afternoon of 8 March 2017, officially launching the WRNS100 centenary celebrations.
The exhibition opening was attended by current serving Royal Navy personnel, WRNS veterans, including members of the WRNS100 Project Team and museum officials who were introduced to The Princess Royal as she toured the exhibition.
The opening took place on International Women’s Day, coinciding with a Royal Navy ship visit to London where HMS St Albans presence helped to mark the achievements of women in today’s Royal Navy during a number of engagements in the capital.
‘Pioneers to Professionals’ champions the early pioneers who fought for equal rights in the Royal Navy and tells the story of how women’s role and service in the navy has changed.
The exhibition celebrates women’s contribution to the Naval Service over the last 250 years.
Commodore Inga Kennedy RN, pictured above, the most senior female officer in the Naval Service said: “The formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service 100 years ago was a really important milestone in the employment of women within the Royal Navy. Their achievements laid the foundations for the integrated naval service that we have today. We are delighted that HRH The Princess Royal was able to meet so many of our veterans and those still serving under the very different conditions of service today.”
The Royal Navy is supporting a number of WRNS100 celebratory events including the unveiling of a Commemorative Stone in Portsmouth Cathedral in November and a London reception at the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich where Wrens served and trained for many years.
The formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1917 allowed women to work in an official capacity in shore-based roles thus releasing men to serve at sea. The pioneering work of these women paved the way for women in the Royal Navy today.
HRH The Princess Royal held the honorary position of Chief Commandant of the Women’s Royal Naval Service from 1974 until 1993. In 1993 the WRNS were integrated into the Royal Navy. Since integration, The Princess Royal has held the position of Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy.
RN Website HRH The Princess Royal officially launches the WRNS100 Centenary 09/03/2017