In 2016, U.K.’s Natural Environment Research Council launched an online poll to name a research ship. The engagement effort backfired when, thanks to a gag suggestion from a radio presenter, the public chose an (admittedly hilarious) moniker: “Boaty McBoatface.”
Fast forward to 2019, and no “Boaty McBoatface.” Instead, the polar exploring ship has been branded to the RRS Sir David Attenborough, named after the noted conservationist and naturalist.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on hand for the official naming ceremony in Birkenhead, England. Kate Middleton helped in the tradition of smashing a Champagne bottle on the hull, and Prince William introduced Attenborough himself. And, rather skillfully, William managed to work in both a commentary on climate change and the internet joke.
“As last week’s climate protests the world over, and yesterday’s report on our oceans and frozen regions demonstrated, there has never been a more important moment for this ship to get to work,” he said. “It is my immense privilege and relief to welcome Sir David Attenborough, rather than Boaty McBoatface, to speak,” he said, according to Reuters.
Let’s give credit where credit is due: great quip, Prince William. A boat-naming ceremony isn’t exactly a natural incubator for pithy remarks, but someone needed to acknowledge the elephant in the shipyard.
Plus, it paints a fun image: Prince William and Kate Middleton, scrolling on their phones or computers or whatever device, giggling like the rest of us at the very idea of “Boaty McBoatface.”
Those who felt some affection for the name need not worry: good ol’ B.B. will live on: A submarine that’s part of the ship has been christened with the name.
Originally Appeared on Vogue