Duchess Kate Middleton Named a Godmother … to a Cruise Ship

Princess Cruises

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 today that the duchess, 31, has accepted an invitation to name the cruise line's newest ship, the 3,600-passenger Royal Princess .

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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 will have only 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.

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"The Duchess will release a bottle of champagne against the hull of the ship which will officially give Royal Princess her name," Karen Candy, spokesperson for Princess Cruises, told ABCNews.com in an email. "For the life of the ship she will be known as the ship's godmother and it's our hope that she will return to visit Royal Princess from time to time in the future. "

Middleton is part of a long cruise ship tradition of choosing godmothers, "to bring good fortune to the ship and its passengers while at sea," according to Candy.

During the ceremony, Middleton will also tour the ship, which is set to depart on its maiden voyage June 16, allowing her to 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."

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