Prince William and Kate Middleton Get In On the "Boaty McBoatface" Internet Joke

Prince William and Kate Middleton referenced the "Boaty McBoatface" internet joke this week and it was glorious.

The Duke & Duchess Of Cambridge Attend The Naming Ceremony For The RSS Sir David Attenborough
(Image credit: WPA Pool)

  • Back in 2016, the U.K.’s Natural Environment Research Council decided it would be a good idea to let members of the public vote on the name for a research ship.
  • The members of the public promptly rose to the challenge and voted on the very sophisticated name "Boaty McBoatface."
  • This week, the ship was renamed in honor of conversationist David Attenborough and Prince William took the opportunity to make a Boaty McBoatface joke during his speech at the naming ceremony.

When the U.K.’s Natural Environment Research Council held an online poll to name a research ship in 2016, they may have expected the public to settle on something profound or respectable or at least normal.

But, because the internet exists, none of those things happened. Instead, thanks to a wonderful suggestion from a radio presenter, the public voted in "Boaty McBoatface" as the name of the research ship.

You know, as you do.

Although Boaty McBoatface had a solid run, this year, the ship was renamed the RRS Sir David Attenborough, in honor of the noted conservationist and naturalist.

Among those present at the official naming ceremony in Birkenhead, England this week were Prince William and Kate Middleton, who took active roles in the event. Kate helped with the tradition of smashing a Champagne bottle on the ship's hull, and Will was taksed with introducing Attenborough, who also (naturally) appeared at the event.

In true millennial royal fashion, Will did not let the moment go by without a nod to the ship's original, internet-y name.

"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. It is my immense privilege and relief to welcome Sir David Attenborough, rather than Boaty McBoatface, to speak," he said, according to Reuters.

A literal royal just said "Boaty McBoatface" during an official speech at an official royal engagement, so I can probably die happy now.

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Weekend Editor at Cosmopolitan

Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with over 10 years of professional experience covering entertainment of all genres, from new movie and TV releases to nostalgia, and celebrity news. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.