William and Kate to join Sir David Attenborough for ship naming ceremony

The RRS Sir David Attenborough polar research ship Credit: Peter Byrne/PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will join Sir David Attenborough for the naming ceremony of the polar research ship the public voted to call Boaty McBoatface.

That name was vetoed and the ship will be officially named the RRS Sir David Attenborough in a ceremony at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead, Merseyside, on Thursday.

William and Kate will be given a tour of the ship and meet a team of engineers, including young apprentices, who have been involved in the build.

Joined by Sir David, they are also due to meet scientists, who will demonstrate the state-of-the-art equipment used to carry out research, and schoolchildren involved in the British Antarctic Survey’s (BAS) Polar Explorer programme.

The royal couple will hear from the ship’s captains and crew members about its ice-breaking capabilities and navigation systems before attending the official ceremony.

William and Sir David are expected to make a few remarks before Kate, as sponsor, formally names the ship when a bottle of champagne is smashed against the hull.

The vessel, owned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and operated by the BAS, will enable world-leading research to be carried out in Antarctica and the Arctic over the next 25 to 30 years.

More than 124,000 people voted to name it Boaty McBoatface in a public poll, but that name was vetoed and it was instead named after the broadcaster.

But Boaty lives on, in the form of a miniature, unmanned, yellow submarine which will be on board the boat.