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Kate Middleton named new ship's godmother and will attend June ceremony ahead of baby's arrival

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Kate Middleton has already confirmed that she plans to start her maternity leave in June as she awaits the arrival of her first baby — and aptly one of her last official duties looks set to be a champagne celebration. Pregnant Kate has been named godmother to Princess Cruises' new ship, Royal Princess, and will attend a naming ceremony for the 3,600 passenger ship in Southampton on June 13.The Duchess of Cambridge — who will by then be heavily pregnant — will christen the ship in the traditional manner, by breaking a bottle of champagne over its hull.

Kate Middleton

It would be a fitting final outing for Kate, given that her very first official engagement was at a RNLI lifeboat naming ceremony in Angelsey in February 2011. That visit also marked her first appearance with Prince William following their engagement announcement. Kate's presence in Southampton in June is likely to generate a huge amount of publicity, with huge crowds expected to gather to catch a glimpse of the pregnant Duchess.Alan Buckelew, the line's president and chief executive said, "It's a great honour for Princess Cruises that Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge has accepted our invitation to become the godmother to Royal Princess. "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. "Kate is following in a long-standing tradition of royal ship godmothers. During her reign, the Queen has christened three Cunard ships, including her namesake, Queen Elizabeth, in October 2010.

Kate Middleton

The Royal Princess will begin 12-day Mediterranean cruises between Barcelona and Venice on 23 June, which will be preceded by a week-long maiden voyage from Southampton to Barcelona on 16 June.

It is the first in a new generation of ships for the cruise liner; in the spring of 2014, the Regal Princess, a 3,600 passenger sister ship to Princess Royal, will make its debut.

The Royal Princess features a glass-bottom walkway that extends more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship, an over-water bar, an outdoor theatre, fitness centre and spa.

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