Prince William visits Welsh Guards for the first time as their new Colonel

Catherine joined him to hand out leeks for St David's Day

On Wednesday, The Prince of Wales made his first visit to the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, where he attended their St David’s Day parade in Windsor. The Princess of Wales accompanied to the barracks. 

His visit comes after The King gave Prince William the role of Colonel of the Welsh Guards last year, reflective of his new title and position as Heir Apparent.

The Prince of Wales paid a visit to the 1st Battalion of the Welsh Guards. (Kensington Palace)

The Prince gave a speech during the visit, where he shared that he was ‘honoured and delighted’ to be in the company of the Welsh Guards. He also expressed his sadness how King Charles III wasn’t there to say farewell as their previous colonel, but said that his father would speak of his ‘fierce pride and admiration’ for the Guards.

Reflecting on the history of the regiment, the Prince called them ‘a formidable group of soldiers’ who were ‘key players in World War Two, the Falklands, Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan to name but a few – your Battle Honours underpin your fighting spirit of today’. 

The Princess of Wales accompanied her husband on the visit. (Kensington Palace)

William ‘fondly’ recalled his time in the Welsh Guards when he was in the jungles of Belize, aged 18, and received his A-Level results over the Bowman Radio.

He explained that many of those at the event would know the feeling of being in the jungle: ‘you’re incredibly hot, continuously soaking wet and with nowhere to hide from potentially horrendous results, it could have been a really bad day’ but ‘it was the camaraderie, the togetherness, and of course the banter’ of the group that got him through the tough days.

The Royal concluded his speech by noting that the bonds developed between personnel and the notion of togetherness creates ‘a strong body of professional soldiers’.

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‘The support of our families, our friends and our loved ones, is vital, and I’m so pleased to see many of them here today.  None of us could do what we do without their support, and I look forward to meeting you and your families over the coming years and getting to know you all.’

William, The Prince of Wales takes the salute at the Welsh Guards’ St. David’s Day Parade in Windsor. (MOD/Sgt Donald C Todd)

As per tradition for the St David’s Day parade, The Prince of Wales presented leeks – the symbol of the regiment – to the officers and guardsmen.

St David’s Day traditionally marks the start of Spring and, this year, it is a marker of the guards’ change of role from operational to ceremonial duties. The last two years the battalion has been working their combat infantry role across the world. Later this year, they will will troop their Colour (regimental flag with battle honours displayed) at The King’s birthday parade.

During the parade, The Princess of Wales, wearing a red coat and leek pin, was presented with a bouquet of flowers by a young girl in traditional Welsh national costume. Catherine was also greeted by a number of beaming children, including one who showed off their impressive backflip skills.

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After the event, the couple took a traditional photograph with the group before joining men and women in the mess, where the spoke to more of the group and their families.

William also met members of the 5th Royal Australian Regiment on the day, and heard about their role in training Ukrainian armed forces in the UK.

The Prince and Princess of Wales have a group photo with the Welsh Guards after the St. David’s Day Parade in Windsor (MOD/Sgt Donald C Todd)

William and Kate, The Prince and Princess of Wales, meet friends and family of members of the Welsh Guards. (MOD/Sgt Donald C Todd)

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