(NEW YORK) — The world is abuzz with news of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s impending motherhood, but before she even gives birth she’ll take on another maternal role as a godmother — to a cruise ship.
Princess Cruises announced Tuesday that the duchess, 31, has accepted an invitation to name the cruise line’s newest ship, the 3,600-passenger Royal Princess.
Middleton will attend the official christening ceremony in Southampton on June 13, about one month before she is due to give birth to her and Prince William’s first child.
The timing means the duchess only will have to smash, not sip from, the champagne bottle traditionally broken over the hull of a ship. Although she won’t be sipping champagne, she will still be able to enjoy other British ship-naming traditions, such as the blessing of the ship and a performance by the Royal Marines Band and the pipers of the Irish Guards.
“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,” Alan Buckelew, Princess president and chief executive, said in a statement.
Middleton will also tour the ship, which is set to depart on its maiden voyage June 16, and perhaps indulge any last-weeks-of-pregnancy cravings at the ship’s pastry shop, the largest one at sea, according to the cruise line.
The appearance will likely mark one of the last public appearances for the duchess as her pregnancy reaches its final stage. She told employees at a homeless shelter last week that the couple’s baby, whose sex has not been revealed, was due “around mid-July, but apparently babies have their own agenda.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul R. La Monica, CNN
Parija Kavilanz, CNN
Patrick Ary, WAAY
Jackie Wattles, CNN