Skip to main content

Pregnant Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, names cruise ship

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
June 14, 2013 -- Updated 0123 GMT (0923 HKT)
  • Duchess of Cambridge names a new Princess Cruises ship, the Royal Princess
  • She smashes a bottle of champagne against the ship's hull for good luck
  • Catherine and Prince William are expecting their first child next month
  • The baby will be heir to the British throne regardless of its gender

(CNN) -- Sporting a growing "baby bump," Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, named a cruise ship on England's south coast Thursday, in what is expected to be her last solo public engagement before her child is due next month.

Wearing a stylish black and white animal print coat, she cut a cord to send the traditional bottle of champagne smashing against the hull of the Royal Princess.

The ceremony in the city of Southampton also included a blessing by the Bishop of Winchester, the Right Rev. Tim Dakin, a performance by British pop singer Natasha Bedingfield and music from military bands.

Catherine was then to be given a brief tour of the cruise liner, as its "godmother."

Duchess to christen cruise ship
Hot new accessory: Duchess Kate's nose
Did she let a royal secret slip?

Gallery: The Duchess of Cambridge's best looks

The ship, owned by Princess Cruises and with room for 3,600 passengers, will embark on its maiden voyage Sunday.

The Royal Princess will then sail Mediterranean cruises through the summer and Eastern Caribbean cruises in the fall. According to Princess Cruises, the huge ship houses the largest pastry store to be found at sea.

There was a gala dinner Wednesday night for guests at the naming ceremony, who included representatives of the charities for which Catherine serves as patron.

The Royal Princess was built for Princess Cruises, a part of Carnival Corp., at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy.

Alan Buckelew, the line's president and CEO, paid tribute to its British heritage in a speech ahead of the champagne smash, with a reference to its origins in the former London-registered Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., better known as P&O.

Prince William's late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was "godmother" to the original Royal Princess liner, which launched from Southampton in 1984.

She and Catherine pronounced the same words as they played their role in the official naming ceremony, saying: "I name this ship Royal Princess. May God bless her and all who sail in her."

Watch: 'Kate and Diana. a royal comparison

Other "godmothers" for the cruise line's ships include the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and actresses Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn.

Heir to the throne

It's not known if Catherine and Prince William are expecting a boy or a girl, but a change in royal succession laws means that their first child will be the heir to the British throne regardless of gender.

The couple married in London's Westminster Abbey in April 2011. William is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles.

Queen Elizabeth II, William's grandmother, last week celebrated 60 years since her coronation.

On Monday, she paid a birthday visit to her husband, Prince Philip, in the hospital where he's convalescing after undergoing abdominal surgery last Friday.

The Duke of Edinburgh, age 92, could stay in the hospital for another week, according to a palace statement.

CNN's David Wilkinson contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
January 14, 2013 -- Updated 1833 GMT (0233 HKT)
Media representatives gather in front of British artist Paul Emsley's portrait of Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge after its unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in central London on January 11, 2013.
The first official portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge has been unveiled - to a mixed reaction from art critics.
January 7, 2013 -- Updated 2243 GMT (0643 HKT)
British Vogue Deputy Editor Emily Sheffield talks to CNN about the Duchess of Cambridge's style and brand preferences.
June 25, 2013 -- Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT)
Britain's Prince William and Catherine Middleton are expecting their first child after 19 months of marriage, the palace announced Monday.
December 4, 2012 -- Updated 1400 GMT (2200 HKT)
"A nation's joy, a husband's nerves," exclaimed the Daily Mail, contrasting William's anxious wait at his wife's bedside with exciting news.
December 4, 2012 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are intensely private; they are also the most famous couple on the planet. This presents a dilemma.
December 3, 2012 -- Updated 2309 GMT (0709 HKT)
CNN's Atika Shubert reports hyperemesis gravidarum, the pregnancy-related medical condition the Duchess of Cambridge has.
June 25, 2013 -- Updated 1359 GMT (2159 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest explains how the birth of the baby the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting will affect the royal family.
June 25, 2013 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
The news that William and Catherine are expecting has positive implications for the future of the British monarchy, says Andrew Roberts.
June 25, 2013 -- Updated 1407 GMT (2207 HKT)
Until 2011, any daughter born to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would not have enjoyed an equal right to inherit the British throne.
June 25, 2013 -- Updated 1350 GMT (2150 HKT)
The Duchess of Cambridge - formerly known as Kate Middleton - is the daughter of self-made millionaires from rural England.
November 21, 2012 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Wherever she goes, the Duchess is surrounded by photographers. This time, she stayed behind the camera.
May 4, 2012 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Has Britain's royal family learned from the legacy of Diana, Princess of Wales, as they protect Kate Middleton?
May 4, 2012 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Every time Kate Middleton steps out in public, the fashion world pays attention. Whatever she wears is an instant hit.
March 19, 2012 -- Updated 1949 GMT (0349 HKT)
The Duchess of Cambridge visits and formally opens The Treehouse, a children's hospice in Ipswich, England.
January 9, 2012 -- Updated 1728 GMT (0128 HKT)
Kate Middleton is surrounded by photographers as she leaves her flat in Chelsea, London, on her 25th birthday, January 9, 2007.
As the Duchess of Cambridge celebrates her 30th birthday, CNN takes a look back at her childhood and her royal romance.