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Standing on the naming platform with the ship's Captain
Tony Draper, The Duchess pronounced, "I name this ship Royal Princess. May God bless her and all who sail in her." She then cut the rope that sent a giant Nebuchadnezzar-size bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne toward the ship, officially welcoming
Royal Princess into the fleet of
Princess Cruises, one of the world's largest international cruise lines.
"We can think of no more fitting godmother for our magnificent new Royal Princess," said
Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises' president and CEO. "Her Royal Highness is an inspiring ambassador for
Britain - with whom Princess Cruises shares strong ties – and she is admired around the world for her style and grace. We're so honored she accepted our invitation to become godmother to our new ship."
The ceremony included star-studded entertainment that blended maritime tradition with contemporary elements, reflecting the innovative spirit of Princess's newest class of ship. In addition to the exciting bottle break moment, the quayside festivities included a host of musical performances, including British pop singer
Natasha Bedingfield singing her hit "Unwritten," as well as an original song by British actress and "the first lady of
London's West End,"
Kerry Ellis. Internationally renowned percussive orchestra Mass Ensemble performed with its signature "Earth Harp," an architectural instrument with strings that extended 1,000 feet and was played as it hovered over the nearly 2,000 ceremony guests. The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines Portsmouth and The Pipe Band of 1st Battalion Irish Guards opened the event with the pomp and ceremony of British ship-naming traditions. The Right Reverend
Tim Dakin, Bishop of Winchester, conducted the traditional ship's blessing.
The event capped off a week of festivities to launch the ship, including a special gala last night. Among the guests invited to the
Royal Princess naming celebrations were representatives from the charities
East Anglia's Children's Hospices, SkillForce and WellChild, whose Patrons are The Duchess of
Prince Harry respectively.
The naming of a ship is a tradition thousands of years old. Different peoples and cultures have shaped the ceremonies surrounding a ship launching but the theme has always been similar – the ritual marks the birth of a vessel, and asks for a blessing of good fortune and safety for the ship and its passengers and crew.