In 1985 the book ‘QE2’ written by my father Ronald W. Warwick and William H. Flayhart III was published by W.W. Norton. At that time my dad was chief officer of the QE2 and his American co-author was an established maritime historian. In the period before publication of the second edition in 1993 Warwick had become captain of the QE2, following in the footsteps of his father Commodore W.E. Warwick, the vessels first master. The updated book adopted the longer title ‘QE2: The Cunard Line Flagship, Queen Elizabeth 2’ and Warwick became sole author of the work. A third edition was published in 1999 but by the early 2000’s the popular book was no longer in print. Demand remained strong for a further edition which would document the final decade of the QE2’s service life, and which would also cover the prolonged period spent in Dubai before the QE2 Hotel finally welcomed paying guests in 2018.

In addition to extending the QE2’s rich and varied history, each subsequent edition also featured extensive revisions to the many photographs. This has helped maintain the book’s enduring popularity among QE2 aficionados and maritime history enthusiasts.

I am extremely proud and honoured that my father asked me to co-author the new edition with him and that this has given me the opportunity to contribute to my family’s long association with the QE2. By coincidence, when I published my first book in 2012, Shipwrecks of the Cunard Line, I was the same age my father was when ‘QE2’ was first published.

First Edition – 1985

Despite the QE2 having already become a renowned vessel the world over, no other books had been published about the ship since she entered service in 1969. The one book written to-date (QE2 Queen Elizabeth 2 the Authorised Story, Potter & Frost, 1969) ends with the maiden voyage in May 1969.

The first edition was published in full colour hardback. A mix-up with the publisher resulted in the cover for the initial print run unintentionally featuring the QE2 with blue boot-topping. The blue had been a brief departure from the traditional Cunard red and was employed for a brief period between 1978 and 1980 when a new anti-fouling paint was being evaluated. The cover illustration ultimately reverted to red, at the insistence of Cunard Line who often gave away complimentary copies of the book to passengers.

A special limited edition run of 1000 included a red slip case and numbered bookplate signed by Chief Officer Ronald Warwick.

Limited edition bookplate

The last recorded event in the first edition is the 1984 ‘Quintessential World Cruise’.

Title: QE2
Authors: Ronald W. Warwick and William H. Flayhart III
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Year: 1985
Pages: 176
ISBN: 0-393-01885-7
Foreword: HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Second Edition – 1993

Once again, a mistake by the publisher resulted in the cover of the book being printed incorrectly with the Roman numeral ‘II’ being used for the ships name instead of the Arabic ‘2’.

The last recorded event in the second edition is the November 1992 dry dock in Hamburg, Germany.

Title: QE2: The Cunard Line Flagship, Queen Elizabeth 2
Author: Captain Ronald W. Warwick
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Year: 1993
Pages: 224
ISBN: 0-393-03547-6
Foreword: John Olsen, Cunard Line CEO

Third Edition – 1999

QE2 3rd edition cover

The third edition culminates with the sale of Cunard Line to Carnival Corporation in 1998.

Title: QE2: The Cunard Line Flagship, Queen Elizabeth 2
Author: Captain Ronald W. Warwick
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Year: 1999
Pages: 224
ISBN: 0-393-04772-5
Foreword: Larry Pimentel, Cunard Line President & CEO

Fourth Edition – 2019

The publication of the new edition was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the QE2’s maiden voyage. An initial unofficial maiden voyage sailed from Southampton on 22 April 1969, being a short cruise to Las Palmas. The official maiden voyage was the first transatlantic crossing to New York which departed Southampton on 2 May 1969.

A special limited edition of 150 books was commissioned to be sold on board the ships of the Cunard Line fleet. Bound in leather, and bundled with extras including a bookmark and postcards, this edition also boasts a bookplate personally signed by Commodore R.W. Warwick.

Further information about the 2019 edition can be found at www.qe2.org.uk/qe2book

Title: QE2: The Cunard Line Flagship, Queen Elizabeth 2
Authors: Commodore Ronald W. Warwick and Sam Warwick
Publisher: The History Press
Year: 2019
Pages: 216
ISBN: 0750989394
Foreword: Maureen Ryan, Ex Lady Assistant Purser and Social Hostess