Kate Middleton, Prince William, join David Attenborough at boat launch

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, laughed as she officially named the polar research ship named by the British public as Boaty McBoatface, but ultimately named after Sir David Attenborough with Prince William in northwest England.

The Duchess of Cambridge beamed as she pressed a large button — releasing a champagne bottle onto the polar research vessel to mark the occasion.

The mum-of-three appeared delighted as she joined William and Sir David for the ceremony in Birkenhead, Merseyside, northwest England.

But the public’s chosen name, Boaty McBoatface, was not used for the vessel — with it instead named RSS Sir David Attenborough after the vote was vetoed. Instead a submarine on board will be given the public’s choice.

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Catherine, 37, stunned in a blue Alexander McQueen dress as she toured the ship with the 93-year-old conservationist and William, also 37.

The event comes after Buckingham Palace announced Princess Beatrice was engaged to her multi-millionaire property tycoon Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.

The vessel is owned by the Environment Research Council (NERC) and operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), and will explore the Arctic and Antarctica for the next 25 to 30 years.

Prince William and Sir David have met before, with the dad-of-three interviewing the naturalist at the World Economic Forum in January, and he also attended the premiere of Sir David’s Netflix series, Our Planet, alongside Prince Charles and Prince Harry in April.

The ship was named after the 93-year-old despite a public poll voting for another title for the vessel.

Boaty McBoatface came out as the most popular name for the state-of-the-art ship, but this was turned down in favour of the naturalist.

The RRS Sir David Attenborough, which cost around £200 million ($A366 million) to build, is set to act as a “floating research fleet”, allowing scientists to study the world’s oceans and understand more about climate change.

It was commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), built by shipbuilding company Cammell Laird to a Rolls-Royce design, and will be operated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Housing state-of-the-art equipment, the ship will be available to the UK research community and allow scientists to remotely deploy robotic instruments to areas humans cannot access.

The vessel is set to replace two other polar research ships: The RRS James Clark Ross, which is nearing the end of its 25-year lifespan, and the RRS Ernest Shackleton, which was returned to its owners GC Rieber this year after 20 years of service. It will operate in both Antarctica and the Arctic and will be able to endure up to 60 days in sea ice without being refuelled. Weighing around 10,400 tonnes — that is 1400 elephants combined — the research ship hosts a wide range of specialist scientific equipment that will allow researchers to study the ocean, sea floor and atmosphere.

— with The Sun



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