HMS Prince of Wales (pennant number 53) was a King George V-class battleship of the Royal Navy, built at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, England. The Prince of Wales had a brief but active career, helping to stop the Bismarck and carrying Winston Churchill to the Newfoundland Conference; however, her sinking by Japanese land-based bombers in the South China Sea on 10 December 1941 was the primary event that led to the end of the battleship being considered the predominant class in naval warfare.
At the time war was declared, Prince of Wales was fitting out in Birkenhead. The ship was damaged in August 1940 during the Merseyside Blitz. She suffered one near-miss that exploded between her port side and the wall of the basin in which she lay, severely buckling and springing her outer plates in this area. The Admiralty determined that she would be needed in case the Bismarck or Tirpitz were deployed, so her construction was advanced by postponing several tests, shortening builder's trials, and deferring post-shakedown availability. She was commissioned on 19 January 1941 under the command of Captain John Leach, but not physically "completed" until 31 March.