Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, will christen the new Royal Princess cruise ship in Southampton, Britain, on June 13, sharing a distinction that at one time also went to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died this week.
The duchess, the wife of Prince William, also follows in her late mother-in-law’s footsteps by playing the role of godmother of a ship. Princess Diana christened the original Royal Princess in 1984, also at Southampton.
Along with Diana and Thatcher, who christened the Regal Princess in 1991, Middleton shares the godmother distinction with actresses Olivia de Havilland, Sophia Loren and Audrey Hepburn, who christened other Princess ships.
Middleton will be smashing the traditional Champagne bottle across the hull toward the end of her pregnancy. She reportedly told members of the media recently that the due date for the couple’s first child is mid-July.
The christening is to be part of a series of events in the port town of Southampton, including a June 12 gala, before the ship embarks on its maiden voyage to to Barcelona, Spain, and Venice, Italy, on June 16.
The ship is also to take short preview cruises to the British island of Guernsey on June 9 and 14. (Check online for availability if you want to go on these cruises).
The ship is Princess’ biggest and will hold 3,600 passengers and 1,346 crew members. Distinctive features include an expanded atrium area and an over-water Sea Walk, a glass-bottomed walkway that takes passengers 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship.
Princess did not disclose the cost of building the ship.