Kate Middleton gets Princess off to champagne start

The Duchess of Cambridge at the ceremony. Picture: PA
The Duchess of Cambridge at the ceremony. Picture: PA
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THE Duchess of Cambridge christened a new liner in smashing style as she carried out her last solo engagement before her baby is born.

Following time-honoured tradition, Kate let fly a huge bottle of champagne against the hull of the vessel Royal Princess, without a hitch.

The Duchess, who is due to give birth mid-July, flew to Southampton by helicopter for the naming ceremony of Princess Cruises’ 3,600-passenger liner in front of hundreds of guests.

Alan Buckelew, president and chief executive officer of Princess Cruises, told the audience: “The naming of a ship is a tradition thousands of years old.

“The ritual marks the birth of a vessel, and asks for a blessing of good fortune and safety for the ship, its crew and passengers.

“Perhaps the most important element of the naming tradition is the godmother selected to christen a ship. She is the figurative patron of the ship through its entire life, and symbolises the spirit of the vessel.

“We can think of no more fitting godmother for our magnificent new ship.

“Her Royal Highness is an inspiring ambassador for Britain, and admired around the world for her style and grace, and for

her com-passion for others.”