The Cambridges

The Duchess of Cambridge hands out shamrocks to celebrate St Patrick’s Day

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked St Patrick’s Day with a traditional celebration at the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in London.

St Patrick’s Day is a traditional regimental celebration for the Irish Guards and is marked by the St Patrick’s Day Parade and a presentation of shamrocks.

The Duchess of Cambridge visited the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow to attend the Parade and was accompanied by her husband, who is Colonel of the Irish Guards. The Queen is Colonel-in-Chief.

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a deep green coat dress by Catherine Walker and the Irish Guards brooch – a piece that isn’t owned by the Royal Family, but by the Irish Guards, and they determine who it is to be loaned to. The shamrock piece is Cartier gold with an emerald in the centre.

The Duchess presented shamrocks to the officers and warrant officers, and to the Irish Guards’ mascot, an Irish wolfhound named Domhnall.

During the ceremony, Their Royal Highnesses led a minute’s silence for the victims of the terror attack in New Zealand earlier this week which claimed the lives of 50 people.

The 1st Battalion Irish Guards regiment was formed by Queen Victoria on 1 April 1900 to recognize the sacrifices and bravery of the Irishmen who fought in the Second Boer War. The Irish Guards is a Foot Guards regiment, meaning that the soldiers are involved in state, ceremonial and public services at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St. James’s Palace, and the Tower of London.

The Royal Family have been presenting shamrocks to the Irish Guards – except during wartime – since 1901, when Queen Alexandra began the tradition. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother took up the tradition, and upon her death, the Princess Royal handed out shamrocks.

The Duchess of Cambridge began handing out shamrocks in 2012, and has ever since, except, controversially, when she skipped the ceremony in 2016, to spend time with her children.