On the 26th of September 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton) attended the Royal Ceremonial Naming of the new polar research ship, the RRS Sir David Attenborough.
The ceremony was the highlight of a three-day celebration of UK science, engineering and shipbuilding.
It took place at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, Merseyside, where the boat was built. The shipyard began work in October 2016, the project took just under three years to complete.
The 130-metre long ship cost £200 million to build. It is one of the most technologically advanced boats in the world. It will take scientists on expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic to conduct state-of-the-art multi-disciplinary research into the role that polar oceans play in our changing world.
During the visit, the royal couple toured the polar research ship before William delivered a speech to the gathered crowd. Then, Kate officially christened the ship as its sponsor:
This required Kate hitting a button that broke bottles of champagne on the ship’s side. Sponsors and naming ceremonies are part of naval tradition dating back thousands of years. They’re meant to bring good luck to the vessel, its crew and passengers.
A video of the big moment:
If you’ve followed our blog for a few years, you’ll remember heavily pregnant Kate performed the same role for the Royal Princess ship back in 2013.
You may recall the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) launched a public poll to name the ship in 2015? The poll made headlines after 124,000 people voted for the name ‘Boaty McBoatface’. The judges decided to veto the name (sadly!) opting for a something more sensible: the RRS Sir David Attenborough. Of course, named after the English broadcaster, natural historian and national treasure. The nonagenarian himself also attended the event.
For those who’re sad the judges didn’t choose Boaty McBoatface as the ship’s name, never fear. The moniker was later given to a yellow submarine that will be deployed from the ship into deep ice. Here’s Kate looking at BoatyMcBoatface the submarine with A group of schoolchildren taking part in the British Antarctic Survey’s Polar Explorer programme:
The royal couple, along with Sir David Attenborough and the schoolchildren, also listened to a talk about the science behind the research.
After officially christening the ship, William and Kate met with locals who had come into the dockyard to watch the ceremony.
Kate wore a cornflower blue coat by Alexander McQueen.
This is the fourth public outing for the coat. The Duchess first debuted the piece in April 2014 during a visit to the town of Blenheim, New Zealand.
Two months later, she wore it in Normandy, France during an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
More recently, she wore the piece in 2016. This time for a reception in London marking the 75th anniversary of the RAF Air Cadets.
The coat is bespoke, created just for Kate. It features a peplum pocket detail, coordinating belt and a collar. It looks like the coat is a mashup of these designs from a previous McQueen ready-to-wear collection:
Kate wore a pair of block-heeled court shoes by Emmy London. They’re the ‘Josie’ style in blue suede. The Duchess first debuted the 3″ high pointed court shoes in May earlier in the year. They cost £395.
The Duchess carried a new handbag to the event today. With thanks to our friend Susan, we can confirm it’s the 1781 Pochette style by Asprey London.
The blue leather clutch bag comes with an optional shoulder strap, which Kate removed on this occasion. It is stamped with Asprey’s 1781 logo and features the brand’s signature clasp in silver. The bag retails for £1,850 at Asprey.com.
Kate’s earrings are from Mappin and Webb. They’re from the Empress collection. The company sell the Empress in different diamond weights and styles, so it’s difficult to say which pair Kate owns specifically.
The Duchess first debuted the earrings at Princess Charlotte’s christening in 2016. She’s worn them regularly since.
Do you love it when Kate repeats outfits or do you find it boring? Do you like this coat or does it not do it for you? Let us know in the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Page to further the discussion. There are 98,000+ Kate fans ready to chat!
Victoria R says
I think, for the most part, that Kate does a great job when she repeats an outfit. She usually styles it a little differently and ends up looking fabulous. There are a few outfits that seem as if Kate has “outgrown” them but most of the time she’s on point.
Carly W says
I personally don’t mind it when she recycles an outfit (especially because it makes my job easier!) I also like seeing how she re-styles pieces.
I just can’t understand why she’s worn this coat four times now, but that gorgeous navy blue military-style McQueen coat from 2011 has never been seen since! It was a stunner. (View here).
Ava Pittman says
This is a great post, very interesting and informative, thank you.
The Duchess looks lovely, the colour is so pretty, but it is not a favourite of mine. The first time she wore it I liked it I think more so because her hair was pulled back and not distracting, over the collar and it looked well groomed. I think it is great she re, wears but in this instance if she was to mix it up a bit, a scarf, different brooch, or something ? just to change the look. The pockets are a real miss for me, right from the start. A lot of her coats have a similar theme it would be great to see her branch out a touch!. The block shoes I am not a fan of , the outfit she wore in April 2014 the shoes were spot on. Maybe what she wore today was due to the ground terrain. Her bag, I love!
The choices of coats you have given are and would be a great alternative, gorgeous.
Janet Meyers says
Truly she is smart and gorgeous inside and out! She can wear the same dress every week who cares she is classy and she chooses to save money. I agree with her. Smart and beautiful
Greet antwerp belgiu says
Of course the duchess can were repaets she looks wonderfull and her smile makes everything looking new
Nice to see her with the duke…they always seem to have fun with one another can not wait to see them
Carly W says
Aw, I love that idea, that her smile makes everything look new. What a lovely sentiment.
Thanks for commenting!
Ligia Klaver says
I think it’s wonderful that Kate re-wears her outfits. In doing so she illustrates that she’s a “regular” person. Most of us re-wear our clothes and it’s fun to see that a princess does the same. This blue cornflower coat is stunning in color and style. It does not matter to me how many times she re-wears an outfit. In this case, her wearing an outfit four times over a period of several years and numerous engagements is not too many times in my opinion. I would prefer that she change her hairstyle and accessories for a re-wearing, but if she doesn’t, that’s fine too – it does not ruin the outfit. I enjoy seeing the outfits repeated because they are so lovely that it’s a shame to put them away and never see them again. Keep it up, Kate!