THERE will be another 'royal' visit to West Fife with HMS Prince of Wales due to arrive in Rosyth for repairs.

The £3 billion aircraft carrier reported "some mechanical faults" after leaving her home port of Portsmouth with reports that it broke down near the Isle of Wight in August.

The Royal Navy had hoped the 65,000-tonne warship would have been able to head north before now to get fixed but departure has been delayed.

A spokesperson added: “HMS Prince of Wales is preparing to sail to Rosyth to undergo repairs to her right propeller shaft.

"The full extent of the repairs will be known once the ship has entered dry dock.

"We are committed to getting HMS Prince of Wales back on operations, protecting the nation and our allies, as soon as possible.”

The ship will relocate in due course, once preparatory diving work on her starboard shaft has been completed.

Complexities with working underwater and on the ship's huge props – which weigh 30 tonnes, the weight of 30 Ford Fiestas! – and hold-ups due to the weather and operating against the tide have all contributed to the delay.

The most powerful warships ever built in the UK, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales were assembled at Rosyth Dockyard at a cost of more than £6 billion.

Construction started in July 2009 and the first carrier was completed in July 2014. HMS Prince of Wales followed in December 2017.

It has a crew of 700, rising to 1,600 when aircraft are onboard, and the flight deck is the size of three football pitches.

HMS Prince of Wales can embark 36 F-35B Lightning fighter jets and four Merlin helicopters.

At the beginning of September, Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse said: "While we do not routinely comment on the state of our warships, there has been some speculation and it is important for me to clear that up.

"Royal Navy divers have inspected the starboard shaft of the ship and the adjacent areas and they have confirmed that there is significant damage to the shaft and the propeller and some superficial damage to the rudder, but no damage to the rest of the ship.

"Our initial assessment has shown that a coupling which joins the final two sections of the shaft has failed.

"Now this is an extremely unusual fault and we continue to pursue all repair options.

"We're working to stabilise the shaft section and the propeller, after which the ship will return to Portsmouth.

"The ship will probably then need to enter a dry dock as this will be the safest and quickest way to effect the repairs."

The need to repair the HMS Prince of Wales meant it could not sail to the USA as planned and take part in the Atlantic Future Forum.

HMS Queen Elizabeth was sent instead to New York.