In a move sure to create controversy, Cunard Line announced today that The Duchess of Cornwall -- the woman formerly known as Camilla Parker Bowles -- will perform the naming of Queen Victoria when the ship is christened in Southampton this December.
The Duchess, who of course is now married to the Prince of Wales (he will participate in the ceremony, but as a male he cannot actually perform the ship's naming), follows a legion of titled godmothers for Cunard. Queen Elizabeth handled the duties for both Queen Mary 2, just a few years ago, and Queen Elizabeth 2, way back in 1969. As Princess Elizabeth in 1947, she also christened Caronia. (The late Queen Mother, then Queen Elizabeth, launched Queen Elizabeth in 1938.)
Christenings starring royalty aren't limited to Cunard. Princess Diana, the Prince of Wales' first wife, was godmother to Princess Cruises' Royal Princess. Holland America, in celebration of its Dutch heritage, tapped Princess Margriet of the Netherlands to welcome Oosterdam to life. Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas was named by Norway's Queen Sonja. And England's Princess Anne handled the christening duties for P&O's Aurora.
The 90,000-ton, 2,014-passenger Queen Victoria will be christened on December 10 in Southampton in front of thousands of guests. The ship promises to be a unique vessel -- part cruise ship, part ocean liner and just narrow enough to fit through the Panama Canal (unlike the gargantuan Queen Mary 2). Queen Victoria embarks on its maiden voyage on December 11.
Stay tuned for Cruise Critic's coverage of all things Queen Victoria between now and the end of the year! And in the meantime, tell us: Who's been your favorite "royal" godmother? Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org; put "Godmother" in the subject line.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor