It looks possible that it will be Her Majesty who will name P&O’s new ship Britannia on 10 March.
As yet there’s no indication from P&O as to who will be performing the naming, but I spotted a post on Cruise Critic that pointed out that Her Majesty will be in the area on the right day. The Royal Family’s website has a page on which the future engagements of members of the family are listed. Have a look here; select ‘The Queen’ and ‘Next Month’ (or ‘This Month’, as appropriate, depending on when you read this); and you’ll see a list of Her Majesty’s engagements for March 2015. There is indeed an engagement for the 10th March, which simply reads “The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will visit Hampshire”.
I’m struck by the paucity of that description compared with others. For 9 March the details read “will attend the Commonwealth Reception given by the Commonwealth Secretary-General at Marlborough House, London SW1” and for 17 March they are “Patron, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, will open the new kennels at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, 4 Battersea Park Road, London SW8”. But for the appointment on 10 March, just the simple “will be visiting Hampshire”. You might almost think someone was trying to keep something secret….
To be honest, this is all speculation, of course. Hampshire is a big and attractive county and it’s perfectly possible that the Queen and Prince Phillip won’t be going anywhere near the Ocean Terminal, Southampton, on 10 March. But the information we have is intriguing, and there is some recent relevant history – Her Majesty named a Cunard ship (‘Queen Elizabeth’) in 2010 and the Duchess of Cambridge named Royal Princess in 2013.
(As an aside, I’ve sometimes wondered how the Royals feel about these things. For example, Her Majesty launched or named, or was present at the launching of, all three of the ships called ‘Queen Elizabeth’; the original in 1938, QE2 in 1967 and the present QE in October 2010, yet she hasn’t voyaged in any of them. The Princess of Wales named the first Royal Princess and the Duchess of Cambridge named the present vessel in 2013, but again that naming ceremony was the nearest they got to them. While Her Majesty may not have had any desire to sail in a cramped steamship, I can’t help thinking that perhaps Princess Diana and the Duchess might have felt differently.)