Eight months pregnant Kate Middleton cut a fashion-forward figure as she appeared at Southhampton Docks yesterday to christen the Royal Princess.
Forgoing maternity clothes yet again, Kate Middleton looked chic in a £169 ($265) Dalmatian mac from High Street store Hobbs.
The water-resistant coat was the ideal choice for the blustery conditions at the waterside where Kate Middleton listened to a brass band play out before smashing a £1,250 Nebuchadnezzar – a 15 litre bottle of champagne the equivalent of 20 regular 75 cl bottles – on the ship’s hull.
The Duchess of Cambridge paired her coat with a sinamay hat with bow detail from royal favorite milliner Jane Taylor and black court shoes.
As has become her signature maternity style, Kate Middleton chose a dress shorter than the styles she wore prior to her pregnancy.
With almost precisely one month to go before her reported due date of 14 July, Kate Middleton, still managing to wear non-maternity clothes, is an inspiration to women out there who feel frustrated by lack of choice in maternity shops.
This was to be the Duchess of Cambridge’s last solo engagement before her baby is born.
Kate Middleton looked relaxed as she stepped from her chauffeur-driven vehicle to the quayside in Southampton.
She made the journey from London by helicopter for the naming ceremony of Princess Cruises’ 3,600-passenger vessel Royal Princess.
A musical extravaganza was staged ahead of the christening of the new vessel and blue carpet, not the customary red, was laid out for her arrival.
She took her place on a stage in blustery conditions that threatened rain.
Seated opposite in a large grandstand were guests associated with charities that have the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or Prince Harry as their patrons.
Spectators were from East Anglia’s Children’s Hospice, Kate Middleton’s charity, SkillForce which has prince William as its figurehead, and Prince Harry’s organization WellChild.
Kate Middleton is the new liner’s godmother, a symbolic position similar to a patron or sponsor that dates back to the mid-19th century when leading women were selected for the honor.
Princess Cruises has a history of illustrious godmothers for past ships including Diana, Princess of Wales, who named the first Princess Royal in 1984, actress Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and Baroness Margaret Thatcher.
The Band of her Majesty’s Royal Marines Portsmouth accompanied by the Pipers of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards gave the start of the ceremonies a military flavor.
They lined Kate Middleton’s route to her seat after playing rousing tunes such as Pomp And Circumstance, sea shanties and a march called HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The Royal Princess in numbers:
3,600: Number of passengers the ship can accommodate at any given time
1,082: The ship’s length in feet
141,000: The gross tonnage of the Royal Princess
Five: The number of stops the ship will make on her maiden voyage. These include Barcelona, Gibraltar, Malaga, Lisbon and Vigo
10: The number of restaurants on board
One: The number of casinos on the Royal Princess
Two: The number of royal princesses at the naming ceremony. One is the ship itself, the other is Kate Middleton.
1,780: The number of staterooms on the Royal Princess
30: The number of days the leisurely voyage to Fort Lauderdale will take
Four: The number of Caribbean islands the Royal Princess will visit. They include the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands and St. Maarten.