The Duchess of Cambridge has attracted further criticism this week after pulling out last minute of presenting St Patrick’s Day shamrocks to the Irish Guards.
By doing so she breaks a 115 year old tradition where a senior female member of the royal family has always had the duty of presenting the shamrocks to the guards since Queen Alexandra first did so in 1901.
The Queen Mother undertook the duty for many years, as did Princess Anne who presented the shamrocks up until 2012 when Kate took over.
As the 34 year old has now pulled out of the event, her husband, Prince William will make the presentations, ending over a century of tradition.
It is understood that the Duchess wanted to stay at home to look after her two young children in Norfolk.
The news comes at a bad time for the Cambridge family after the British press started using adjectives such as “workshy” and “lazy” to describe their lack of work currently undertaken.
Last year, 94-year-old Prince Philip undertook more engagements than William, Kate and Prince Harry combined leaving many royal commentators questioning who will continue to carry out these important engagement once the older generation can no longer continue at such a pace.
Royal Historian, author, and the publisher of Royal Musings, Marlene Eilers Koenig, says that the Duchess should be taking part in more public engagements.
“I do think that the Duchess of Cambridge should be stepping up the number of engagements and patronages as she is a senior royal. Yes, it can be said that the Duke of Cambridge is only second in line and does not have a constitutional role. But the majority of working royals are senior citizens so there does need to be a move toward the younger couple stepping up their duties.”
She continued: “However, I do not think Catherine should be tarred and feathered for missing this one event. The presenting of the shamrock began in 1901 with Queen Alexandra, and most of the presentations have been made by female members of the royal family, including the Princess Royal (Mary), Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (first as the Duchess of York), the present Princess Royal. But the presentations have not taken place during wars (World War I and II,for example).
“Previously, he late Princess Royal was unable to attend the presentation so in 1929 and 1933; so the Countess Roberts represented her. The Earl of Cavan also represented the Princess several times, including 1931 and 1940.In 1941 and 1942, the Princess Royal had shamrocks delivered to the Irish Guards. In 1950, George VI, accompanied by the Queen Mother, and Princess Elizabeth, made the presentation.
The Earl of Cavan, presented the Shamrocks on behalf of the Princess Royal, several times, including 1931 and 1940.
“In 1989, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who joined the British Guards as a volunteer in the Irish Guards in 1942, traveled to Belize to make the presentation. The Queen Mother was unable to travel to Belize, where the Battalion was stationed at the time. The Duke of Cambridge will be making the presentation this year but I hope this is a one-off, and is not repeated next year.”
Aides have said that the Duchess will take on the role again in the future.
A spokesperson said: “The Duchess has very much enjoyed the occasions when she has been able to attend, but the Duke is the Colonel of the Regiment and is looking forward to presenting the Irish Guards with their Shamrock.
“She won’t do it every year but the Duchess looks forward to marking St Patrick’s Day with the Irish Guards many times in the future.”