To celebrate St Patrick’s Day today, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent time with the Irish Guards at Mons Barracks, Aldershot.
With Prince William in his black frock coat as the regiment’s colonel and Catherine in an all-green ensemble, they were the guests of honour at this year’s Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day Parade.
The Duchess presented traditional sprigs of shamrock to the officers and guardsmen, and 300 soldiers marched on to the parade in full ceremonial uniform. Music was provided by the Band of the Irish Guards and the Drums & Pipes.
William received the salute during the parade.
This was the first time the ceremony has taken place since 2019, due to the pandemic, although the couple sent a video message last year.
Irish Guards can be spotted by the shamrock on their tunic collar, as well as the blue feather in their bearskin and the two groups of four buttons. The blue is that of St Patrick.
The Guards have been part of the British army since 1900, formed by royal decree under Queen Victoria to commemorate the Irishmen who died fighting during the Boer War. Ireland gained independence from Britain in 1922.
Catherine wore the shamrock brooch that was regularly worn by the Queen Mother when she was colonel; it was gifted to the Duchess in 2011 for her wedding, but it belongs to the regiment and has been worn by other royal women over the years.
The men and women were also accompanied by Turlough Mὸr (pronounced Tur-lock More), the adorable Irish Wolf Hound and regimental mascot. He, too, received his own sprig of royal shamrock. Outside of his work as a mascot, however, Turlough Mὸr is known as Seamus.
Catherine was presented with flowers by children of some of the soldiers, and she and William were particularly amused when Lieutenant Colonel Rob Money joked and tried to put his bearskin hat on 20-month-old daughter Gaia’s head.
Afterwards, the royal couple posed for photos with the regiment, before heading inside to the Mess, where they received a toast from the Senior Guardsman of the 1st Battalion.
Usually the Duke and Duchess partake in a celebratory Guinness for the annual event.
A custom begun by Queen Alexandra in 1901, the St Patrick’s Day shamrocks were once presented by the Queen Mother, although in recent years, Princess Anne has also taken on the job.