A state-of-the-art Norfolk lifeboat was named and launched by a member of the royal family.

The Duke of Kent, Prince Edward, attended the ceremony in Wells on Sunday to unveil the RNLI's Shannon class lifeboat.

Named "Duke of Edinburgh", to commemorate the late Prince Philip and his long-standing commitment to maritime services, it is the third all-weather lifeboat at Wells to be named by a member of the Royal family.

The Oakley class lifeboat "RNLB Ernest Tom Neathercoat" was named by Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent in 1965, and the "RNLB Doris M Mann of Ampthill" was named by the Duchess of Kent in July 1990.

Eastern Daily Press: The new RNLI lifeboat was named by the Duke of Kent yesterdayThe new RNLI lifeboat was named by the Duke of Kent yesterday (Image: RNLI)

RNLI chief executive Mark Dowie said: "The Duke's warmth, generosity and understanding of our lifesaving work is incredibly valued by this charity.

"It's a great honour - not just for Wells Lifeboat Station but for the RNLI as a whole to name a lifeboat in honour of the Duke of Edinburgh."

READ MORE: Lifeboat team's dramatic rescue of sick and stricken sailor

Wells RNLI’s Launch a Memory lifeboat arrived in the town last October carrying with it 15,000 names of loved ones in its decals ‘RNLI13-46’ who will be celebrated and remembered every time the crew heads out to save lives at sea. 

Representatives of the many who have helped to raise funds to enable these new lifesaving assets attended the ceremony including the Bradbury Foundation and The Lifeboat Fund who handed over the new boathouse and lifeboat into the care of the RNLI. 

Peter Rainsford, chair of Wells Lifeboat Management Group, said: "Today was a proud day for both the lifeboat station and the town.  It provided the perfect opportunity to say a special ‘thank you’ to everyone who has helped to make our new lifeboat station, the Shannon class lifeboat and its launch and recovery system a reality. We also took time to reflect and celebrate the names of the many loved ones that will launch with us every time our volunteers set out to save lives at sea."

Chris Hardy, Wells RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat operations manager, said: "Saturday heralded a new chapter of lifesaving for Wells RNLI. It was a momentous occasion and was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the new lifeboat station, lifeboat and launch and recovery system and the sunshine was an extra blessing."