The Duke of York marked the centenary of the Battle of Jutland by paying a visit to HMS Duncan as it was anchored at Thames Quay.
Prince Andrew came aboard the Type 45 destroyer to a naval salute before speaking with officers from the Royal Navy and giving a speech about the conflict on May 31 and June 1, 1916.
The Battle of Jutland fought between the British and German navies, has been described as the largest battle of the First World War, involving 279 ships and resulting in heavy losses for both sides.
And the Duke of York, who was involved in the Falklands conflict in 1982, has a personal connection to the engagement as his grandfather, King George VI, was serving at the time when he was Duke.
Prince Andrew said: “It’s just interesting to consider that there are a number of us here who had relatives who took part in the Battle of Jutland.
“My grandfather was serving at the time and I was actually the next Duke of York to serve in another campaign so many years later.
“Those that gave their ultimate sacrifice at sea are often not seen because their grave was the ship, which is underwater.
“So this is very poignant for the Royal Navy – to go and mark this centenary. I hope the nation appreciates what they did in 1916 and what they do, epitomised by this beautiful ship, in the 21st century.
“The navy runs through the DNA of this country. Being able to recognise and remember that is really, really important.”
AB Tom Cope, great grandson of Jutland survivor Thomas James Cope, was there for the Duke’s visit.
The 31-year-old said: “It’s nice that battles like Jutland are remembered. They can be a bit invisible when they happen at sea.
“The sea is quite strong in my family so it is nice to be able to carry on the family tradition.
“It’s very important that people remember what the Royal Navy has done in the past and what it’s doing now. It plays a very big part in my life and I’m very proud to serve them.”
HMS Duncan will be leaving West India Docks and sailing to Germany to rendezvous with HMS Brandenburg.
The two ships will head out over the wreck of HMS Invincible, which was destroyed during the Battle of Jutland.
HMS Duncan’s Commanding Officer Charles Guy said: “Standing on this flight deck, it would be easy to see the differences between what Winston Churchill called the castles of steel and modern naval ships like this one.
“As the commanding officer, I don’t think the courage of sailors changed through the ages. My sailors are a living embodiment of the courage and the sacrifices 100 years ago.”