The Duchess of Cambridge presented shamrocks to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards yesterday ahead of her whirlwind weekend trip to Paris.
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. Afterwards, she and William attended the Guardsman’s lunch and were spotted sipping pints of Guinness.
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.
Later in the day, the royal couple travelled to Paris, billed as a charm offensive to soothe post-Brexit relations with other European countries. They will visit Germany and Poland later in the summer with the same objective.
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.