Ladies who launch
TO be a corporate godmother is rather different to being a family godmother. I have two grown-up godchildren, Laura and Sebastian, and my (very welcome) duties have included remembering their birthdays, arriving (in earlier times) at their homes with the sort of teeth-rotting treats their mothers had banned and so would promptly confiscate and (supposedly) being available, if required (which I wasn’t), to divulge the ins and outs of birds and bees.
Public godmothers are brand ambassadors and they are terribly popular in Europe, sought by operators of ocean liners and river cruise boats to do the launch, swing the champers and pose for the press.
Viking River Cruises chooses its ladies from the realms of business, academe, philanthropy and even royalty. Lady Carnarvon, chatelaine of Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey), recently launched Viking Skadi in Amsterdam. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has gone for a splashier approach — its Queen Isabel, fitted with ‘‘regal furnishings’’ and a helipad, was christened by actor Andie MacDowell on March 22 in Portugal. Ita Buttrose is a brand ambassador for Tauck and television host Lisa Wilkinson has launched riverboats for Avalon Waterways, which operates eight spacious Suite Ships and also has an association with fashion identity Deborah Hutton, who’ll break the bubbly over Avalon Illumination in June next year.
Italian-owned MSC Cruises has Sophia Loren on board, as it were, to name its mighty liners — I attended the MSC Divina christening in Marseilles last year and contributor Helen McKenzie is just back from Genoa, where sister ship MSC Preziosa was launched.
In June, I will be in Southampton for the naming ceremony of Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
I am sure Godmother Kate will pull it all off, unlike Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who pressed the wrong button when christening Queen Victoria in 2007. The champers didn’t break but hung ‘‘like an albatross might’’, observed London’s The Telegraph.