The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended St Patrick’s Day celebrations with the Irish Guards at Mons Barracks in Aldershot today as the Duchess performed the traditional handing of shamrocks to officers and soldiers of the regiment.
Prince William, who is Colonel of the Regiment, wore the undress uniform of a Guards Officer while Kate wore a brown Catherine Walker coat and a hat by Lock & Co.
Before the parade, the Duke and Duchess arrived early for a private meet with members of the regiment before the formal parade began. After turning out on the parade square, the Duke and Duchess took to the saluting dais for the royal salute before the presentation of shamrock got underway.
The tradition of presenting shamrock to members of the regiment stretches right back to the founding of the Irish Guards in 1900 when, the following year, on St Patrick’s Day they received their first presentation of shamrock from Queen Alexandra (consort of Edward VII). Since then the presentation has been done by The Queen Mother up until her death in 2002 and then the Princess Royal. Since Prince William’s appointment as Colonel of the Regiment, Kate has now performed this duty.
Wearing number two service dress, officers on parade first of all received the shamrock to be handed to soldiers of the battalion from the Duchess before lining up to personally receive the shamrock, along with Warrant Officers in the regiment, from Kate.
The royal couple themselves were also given fresh shamrock to wear, which Prince William attached to the front of his forage cap (as is traditional), and the Duchess wore on the left of her coat.
Following the presentation of shamrock, the 200 members of the regiment gathered on parade performed a march past in front of the Duke and Duchess to their regimental quick march, aptly named St Patrick’s Day.
The Duchess, now eight months pregnant, has a further engagement tomorrow where she will visit Brookhill Children’s Centre in Woolwich to learn more about Home-Start and the work that the charity does to support children and families.
After the parade, the Duke and Duchess then met members of the regiment more informally as well as visiting both the officers’ and sergeants’ mess at Mons Barracks where they also sat for photographs with members of the regiment for the occasion.
At the conclusion of the photographs, the royal couple visited a marquee where all members of the regiment were gathered. The longest serving Guardsman in the Battalion proposed a toast to William and Kate before thanking the Duchess for her presentation of shamrock.
The Duke and Duchess’s have attended the St Patrick’s Day festivities with the Irish Guards for the past four years, with the Duchess attending alone in 2012 as the Duke was on a deployment to the Falkland Islands.
photo credits: © Crown Copyright 2015, Corporal Steve Blake RLC