Pregnant Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, to name cruise ship

Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 6:21am

Sporting a growing bump, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will name a cruise ship Thursday on England's south coast in what is expected to be her last solo public engagement before her baby is due next month.

The ceremony in the city of Southampton will include the traditional smashing of a bottle over the ship's hull, as well as a blessing and music from military bands.

Catherine will be given a brief tour of the aptly named Royal Princess, as its "godmother."

The ship, owned by Princess Cruises and with capacity for 3,600 passengers, will embark on her maiden voyage on Sunday.

The Royal Princess will then sail Mediterranean cruises through the summer and Eastern Caribbean cruises in the fall.

A gala dinner was held Wednesday night for guests at the naming ceremony, who included representatives of the charities for which Catherine serves patron.

It's not known if Catherine and Prince William are expecting a boy or a girl -- but a change in the royal succession laws means that their first child will be the heir to the British throne regardless of gender.

The couple married in London's Westminster Abbey in April 2011. William is second-in-line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles.

Queen Elizabeth II, William's grandmother, last week celebrated 60 years since her coronation.

On Monday she paid a birthday visit to her husband, Prince Philip, in the hospital where he's convalescing after undergoing abdominal surgery last Friday.

The Duke of Edinburgh, aged 92, could stay in hospital for another week, according to the palace statement.


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