These are some busy and exciting times for The Royal Family.
With Prince Harry, Meghan and Archie on official duty in Africa, Princess Beatrice announcing her engagement, now, it’s Prince William and Kate Middleton’s turn to capture the world’s imagination.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have christened the $400m polar research vessel, the RSS Sir David Attenborough, overseeing its official unveiling in the UK on Thursday.
The ship’s launch represents a small part of the world’s battle against climate change, a subject dear to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, while on the other side of the world, Harry and Meghan’s current work in South Africa underlines the Royals’ commitment to solving humanitarian and social issues.
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Kate, who will be the ship’s official sponsor, had the honour of assuming the tradition of smashing a bottle of champagne against the ship’s hull.
“It gives me great pleasure to name this ship Sir David Attenborough, and may God bless her and all those who sail in her,” the Duchess said as she plunged the trigger.
They were joined by Sir David Attenborough himself, the renowned broadcaster and environmentalist.
Attenborough has become a global advocate for environmental and climate-related issues over the course of his decades transporting the beauty – but also the destruction – of the planet to our television screens.
The Royals couple took a tour around the ship along with Attenborough, chatting to the crew as they inspected the bridge.
They also met ship builders, scientists and children taking part in British Antarctic Survey’s Polar Explorers programme, according to Kensington Palace.
The ship will carry 30 crew members and up to 60 scientists on its voyages.
The vessel, operated by the British Antarctic Survey, will allow the UK’s research community to carry out world-leading research in Antarctica and the Arctic over the next 25-30 years, which will be key to better understanding the problems facing the planet.
The ship took one million pieces of steel and 900km of cabling to construct.
Her name originally went out to a public vote, but after a resounding win for “Boaty McBoatface”, the comic name was vetoed in favour of the acclaimed presenter.
“It is my immense privilege and relief to welcome Sir David Attenborough, rather than Boaty McBoatface, to speak,” said Prince William as he addressed a huge crowd on the pier at Birkenhead, near Liverpool.
However, the name Boaty McBoatface will live on through the ship’s yellow submarine.
“The ship has captured the imaginations of millions, which is why we’re ensuring that the Boaty name lives on through the sub-sea vehicle that will support the research crew, and the polar science education programme that will bring their work to life,” said then-Science Minister Jo Johnson in 2016.