The Duchess of Cambridge is to become a godmother to a cruise ship, Princess Cruises has announced.
The Duchess will name the new Royal Princess ship in a ceremony that will be the highlight of a week of celebrations at Southampton docks.
It is the first ship that she will be godmother to.
The ceremony, featuring a performance from the Royal Marines Band and the pipers of the Irish Guards, will take place on June 13.
The Duchess will follow a precedent set by other royals linked to cruise ships, including Diana, Princess of Wales, who named the original Royal Princess ship in 1984 and the Queen, who christened two ships for Cunard – the Queen Elizabeth in 2010 and Queen Mary 2 in 2004. She also launched Queen Elizabeth 2, appropriately, in 1967, while Cunard's Queen Victoria was named by Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Cruise lines often call on glamorous celebrities too, with stars including Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Joanna Lumley and Helen Mirren all helping with naming ceremonies in the past.
Alan Buckelew, the president and CEO of Princess Cruises, said: “It is a great honour for Princess Cruises that the Duchess of Cambridge has accepted our invitation to become the godmother to Royal Princess.
“We are delighted that the Duchess will launch our new ship and can think of no better way to celebrate our company’s British heritage and our commitment to the country.”
The Royal Princess will become the 16th ship in the Princess Cruises fleet, and will holds 3,600 passengers. Features will include a glass-bottomed walkway that extends from the top deck 28ft over the sea, private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water, a chef’s table for private dining, and the largest pastry shop at sea.
After the naming ceremony, the ship will complete two short preview cruises before its maiden voyage around the Mediterranean.
It will sail the line’s Grand Mediterranean cruises during the summer, before being moved to the Eastern Caribbean in the autumn.
Natalie Paris Telegraph.co.uk