I've always given a slight edge on "beautiful" to Normandie, though only very, very reluctantly, whenever I looked at Queen Mary. All those who give an edge to Elizabeth are simply mistaken. Mary looks more the greyhound and statelier with her perfectly spaced and proportioned funnels than the little-too-buxom Elizabeth (whom I give my fourth slot, just behind France.) Do we have a "most beautiful ship" poll anywhere here to settle this once and for all? I'd wager today's builds wouldn't make our top 250.
Both of the queens oozed a powerful image, quite imperious. Normandie was a lovely looking ship but lacked the majestic edge of the queens. The three funnels of the Mary gave her the edge over the Lizzy, and I can't say exactly why, perhaps just that little bit better proportioned. I watched the four big ones transitting the Solent in 1967 and it was that observation that made me choose Mary over Elizabeth. France came third, shame about her funnels, just not quite right, otherwise a very elegant ship, but elegant, not majestic. The United States could have been a lot closer without those overproportioned funnels. I will have to try transposing images of funnels with the ratio of Mary's and see what answer I come up with.
Notwithstanding, it was an age which is lost forever. Then I see a picture of the new 'queens', hugely more efficient perhaps, and I weep.