ALL eyes of the UK be on Hampshire later as the Queen will be the guest of honour at the commissioning of the UK's new aircraft carrier - HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The Queen, Princess Anne and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson are set to witness the 65,000 tonne vessel being accepted into the Royal Navy at a ceremony later this morning in Portsmouth.

At 280 metres long and with an estimated half a century working life, the £3.1 billion behemoth aircraft carrier is the biggest and most powerful warship ever built by the UK.

Commander of the vessel, Captain Jerry Kyd described the commissioning ceremony, being held at the ship's home base Portsmouth on Thursday, as a "major milestone".

He said: "Building aircraft carriers is not for the fainthearted. There are very few countries who can do this around the world.

"So we should look at our British industry, our designers, all the skills, all the production companies around the country, the shipyards from Devon through to Fife, to the Royal Navy, who have come together to make this happen.

"We should be really proud as a country. This has been a national endeavour. It has just been fantastic - it is really a culmination of all our hard work."

Set to be the nation's future flagship, the aircraft carrier can be pressed into action for various tasks such as high intensity war fighting or providing humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

She will also serve as a floating military base for the F-35B stealth fighter jets that will launch from the deck of the vessel to undertake missions.

Cpt Kyd added that hosting the Queen and having the monarch step on board for the commissioning ceremony was a "complete honour", adding that she would no doubt be "justly proud" of the sailors.

He said: "I think this is the culmination of a number of years of real excitement.

"The first entry into Portsmouth was in the summer and here we are today accepting the ship into Her Majesty's fleet formally.

"So, it is right at the top, it is the latest milestone, many more to come, but hugely exciting and a very proud day."

About 3,700 guests are due to attend the event, which comes more than three years after the vessels official naming ceremony in Rosyth when the Queen broke a bottle of whisky on its hull.

During the ceremony, the commissioning warrant will be read and the Blue Ensign, which has been flying from the ship until it is formally handed over to the Royal Navy, will be replaced with the White Ensign.

The Queen will also review the first row of the royal guard and will say a few words as Lady sponsor.