Queen reopens the restored Cutty Sark in Greenwich

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II walks on deck during a visit to re-open the tea clipper Cutty Sark in Greenwich, east London, on April 25, 2012. The Cutty Sark, built in 1869 was one of the last and one of the fastest tea clippers to be built. The Cutty Sark was badly damaged by fire on in May 2007 but after a 50 million GBP (80.6 million USD) restoration project the vessel is restored and will reopen to the public on April 26. KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II walks on deck during a visit to re-open the tea clipper Cutty Sark in Greenwich, east London, on April 25, 2012.
KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images

(CBS/AP) Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the Cutty Sark today,  five years after it was devastated by fire.

The famous 19th -century tea clipper was gutted by a blaze in 2007 during the early stages of restoration but has since undergone a $75 million restoration.

Pictures: Queen reopens Cutty Sark
Pictures: Queen Elizabeth II
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"She was only designed to last 30 years, she's now 143 years old," explained Cutty Sark curator Jessica Lewis to CBS News. "So she really is one of the fastest ships and the most famous ships in the world, so she is definitely worth preserving."

After five  years of construction, millions of dollars in funding, and 13 miles of rigging later, visitors can come aboard the Cutty Sark again.

"If you think of a sailing ship, you can't do better than think of Cutty Sark plowing through the waves with her three-quarters of an acre of canvas blowing in the wind," said Richard Doughty, chief executive of the Cutty Sark Trust. "She's romantic."

The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh who has a long association with the vessel, co-founding the Cutty Sark Soceity in 1951 to safeguard the ship.

The reopening occurred during their tour of Greenwich, which has been made a royal borough to mark the Queen's Jubilee.

While in Greenwich, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh also visited the National Maritime Museum, where the Queen  opened a new exhibition. In nearby Southwark, the royal couple  visited a million-dollar row barge which will take part in this summer's Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

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