THE Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales got underway today (Monday) after a mystery delay at the 11th hour yesterday.

The £3.2 billion warship is now on its way to join a major NATO exercise — Exercise Steadfast Defender in Norway.

It is NATO's largest mission since the Cold War.

Isle of Wight County Press:

READ MORE: HMS Prince of Wales sailing near Isle of Wight postponed

After the cancellation was announced, the crew and base workers at Portsmouth Naval Base could be seen busily preparing, with scaffolding on the carrier’s flight deck removed ahead of sailing, scheduled for this lunchtime.

People again lined the walls of Portsmouth Harbour to watch the 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier head out onto The Solent and pass the Isle of Wight in glorious sunshine this afternoon.

HMS Prince of Wales replaces HMS Queen Elizabeth, which was originally scheduled for the exercise, but developed a fault with its propeller.