Kate Middleton Names the Royal Princess Cruise Ship

at 6:11 am | By

In her last solo royal engagement before she gives birth next month, Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge formally christened a new Princess Cruise Line ship in Southampton, England, on Thursday, cutting the ceremonial rope to smash a bottle of champagne on the hull after she declared, “I name this ship Royal Princess.”

The Duchess, 31, dressed her growing baby bump in a dalmatian-print coat by Hobbs, a popular U.K. chain retailer, completing the look with black pumps and a black fascinator. Following the christening, Catherine took a tour of the boat and hosted a gala dinner with guests from her charities, according to Marie Claire.

The future consort is the latest royal to act as godmother to the ocean liner. According to Hello!, Queen Mary helped christen her namesake in 1934, as have the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of Cornwall.

“It is a great honor for Princess Cruises that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has accepted our invitation to become the Godmother to Royal Princess,” president and CEO Alan Buckelew said in a statement. “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 event marked the Duchess’ last solo engagement before she departs on her maternity leave. After Saturday’s Trooping of the Colour parade — which is put on every year to celebrate the monarch’s official birthday — Catherine will step away from the limelight, to lie low and nest for her first child with Prince William.