Dozens of people were expect-ing individual introductions, hundreds more were looking on in the blustery harbor wind and a four-gallon, $1,600 bottle of Moët & Chandon Champagne was waiting to be smashed to pieces. Yes, the christening of the Royal Princess cruise ship in Southampton on June 13 might have been a logistically daunting engagement for any royal, let alone one eight months pregnant and in heels. Naturally, Princess Kate made it look like a breeze. "She clearly does her homework," Graham Butland, chief executive of EACH, the children's hospice group of which the princess is a patron, tells PEOPLE. Then again, "she has an advantage in that she has such a little bump, it doesn't get in the way of talking to people!" says Butland, who has watched her in action at three recent events. "She's looking really radiant. She's Superwoman almost; she has just kept going."
Sailing through her third trimester without so much as breaking a sweat (seriously, how does she do that?), the royal mum-to-be, 31, has kept up a busy stream of public engagements, including a service marking the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation on June 4 and the Trooping the Colour ceremony on June 15. But even a super princess needs to take a breather in the home stretch. With new details emerging about plans for the baby's arrival (see box), the princess is expected to stick close to London until the delivery. Says a family friend: "She's now very much going to be looking after herself."
As her mid-July due date fast approaches, she also has managed to squeeze in some nesting as she and Prince William
, 31, ready their Kensington Palace quarters for the new heir. At London decor shop Bernard Thorp on June 4, the princess - along with her interior decorator—"was very clear on the look she wishes to create," says the company's creative director Greg Kinsella, who declined to confirm reports that she bought mostly neutral hues. (The couple have told friends they don't know the sex of the baby "and they wouldn't tell us even if they did know it," one says with a laugh.)
With Kate lying low and William figuring out what comes next after he wraps his role as a search-and-rescue pilot in Wales, the couple are eagerly anticipating Delivery Day. Says the family friend: "They are terrifically excited."
- With Simon Perry/London,
- Monique Jessen/London.