Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, names Royal Princess

By Tom Stieghorst

Kate Middleton Names the Royal PrincessSOUTHAMPTON, England -- Under a gray but rain-free sky, a crowd of several hundred witnessed the official naming of the Royal Princess, the newest Princess Cruises ship, by British royalty. Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, was the godmother. (Click here or on the photo to view images from the event.)

The duchess snipped a cord that sent a magnum of champagne to break on the bow of the ship and triggered a blizzard of blue and white confetti.

The 3,560-passenger ship received a blessing from the Right Reverend Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, who asked God for his "blessing on all who sail in her."

The ship's captain, Tony Draper, assisted the duchess, bowing slightly and asking, "Your highness, will you name my ship?"

Dark clouds had threatened to move the christening indoors, but by 11:30 a.m. London time, they had lifted enough to allow the planned dock-side pageantry to go forward.

The entertainment included the Pipers of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, and the Royal Marines Band Portsmouth, as well as contemporary singers Natasha Bedingfield and Kerry Ellis.

As is customary, many of the British women in the audience were decked out in hats and feathery headpieces called fascinators for the occasion.

Follow Tom Stieghorst on Twitter @tstravelweekly. 

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