The Duchess of Cambridge has undertaken her final solo engagement prior to giving birth to her first child next month.
The radiant Duchess was in Southampton, UK to christen a new cruise ship Royal Princess. She christened the new liner in the traditional manner of smashing a Nebuchadnezzar of champagne worth £1,250. The cruise ship will embark on it’s maiden voyage to Barcelona on Sunday. Then it will transfer to Eastern Caribbean routes in the autumn
Katherine who was wearing a Dalmatian print coat from UK High Street brand Hobbs was given a guided tour of the spectacular cruise ship by ship’s captain Tony Draper. She was shown the bell from the original Royal Princess ship which was christened by the late Princess Diana in 1984. The Duchess spent time talking to crew during the tour including chief baker, Antonio Distasio who offered to teach the Duchess an authentic Naples pizza.
Former chairman of P&O Cruises Lord Sterling and his wife Dorothy was also present. Lord Sterling was present when the Princess of Wales named her first cruise ship - also Royal Princess - in 1984.
He said: ‘I remember when young Diana named her first cruise ship and she said she was quite nervous.
"I was recalling that to the Duchess today and saying today brings back memories for me of Prince William’s mother."
She took her place on a stage to christen the liner and among the spectators were representatives from the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice, the Duchess’s charity, SkillForce which has the Duke of Cambridge as its figurehead, and Prince Harry’s organization WellChild.
Two children, Isobel Rowbotham, 14, and her eight-year-old brother Charles, handed the Duchess a pair of scissors to cut the rope and release the bottle of champagne. The children were chosen after their brother died from a brain tumour as a toddler at the East Anglia Children’s Hospice. Before cutting the rope, Duchess spoke to the children. Then she completed the ceremony with the traditional words: “I name this ship Royal Princess, may God bless her and all who sail in her.”
In spite of the ship’s regal name, the vessel was not named after the Duchess of Cambridge. The liner is named from the original Royal Princess Ship which was launched in 1984 by the then Princess of Wales. The original ship is now known as the MV Artania and is based in Germany, where it is part of the fleet belonging to German cruise company, Phoenix Reisen.
The Duchess last official engagement will be the Trooping of the Colour on Sunday. Prince Philip will be missing from this on Sunday as he is still in the London Clinic following his abdominal surgery.
Let’s hope that the Duchess of Cambridge will be able to relax and prepare for the imminent arrival of the newest member of the Royal Family soon!