On Wednesday, The Princess of Wales met the 1st Battalion Irish Guards on Salisbury Plain as their new Colonel.
Catherine was made Colonel of the Irish Guards last year by The King, taking over as Colonel from her husband, The Prince of Wales.
The Irish Guards, formed by Queen Victoria in 1900, are experts in infantry combat. Their specialisms include reconnaissance, engaging enemy troops with machine guns and mortars, and anti-tank operations. They are part of the Household Cavalry, the most senior troops in the British Army, who participate in Trooping the Colour and guarding the royal palaces.
The Princess was taken on a tour of the Salisbury Plain training area by Major General Christopher Ghika, commander of the Army in London and the Household Division, and Lieutenant Colonel James Aldridge, commander of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.
Battling the snowy conditions and freezing temperatures, Kate didn’t hesitate to get stuck in to the training drills.
In one drill, members Guards were on patrol when they came under fire from an enemy. The exercise saw a soldier suffering from a gunshot wound to his lower left leg and being evacuated from the scene.
It was here that Catherine stepped up and helped Lance Corporal Jodie Newell in administering first aid. She applied a tourniquet to his lower left leg to stop the bleeding, when he was then moved onto a stretcher where their Colonel helped with assessing him for injuries to his torso.
Although they have no operational role, Royal Colonels are kept informed of their regiment’s activities, visit deployed troops, send messages of support, attend regimental dinners and take part in ceremonies. This visit formed part of such activities.
During the visit, the Princess heard about the work the Battalion has recently undertaken, including meeting Guardsmen who were deployed in Africa, including training park rangers on counter-poaching operations. This is an area of interest for her husband, Prince William, who supports anti-poaching efforts on the continent as well as anti-wildlife trafficking.
The Royal also received a briefing on counter-explosive ordnance, which is the de-mining training delivered by the Irish Guards to Ukrainian armed forces, which The King recently saw in practice.
Finally, she viewed several of the different types of weapons used by the Irish Guards.
Lieutenant Colonel Aldridge said his battalion was thrilled to welcome Catherine to Salisbury Plain for her first visit as Royal Colonel.
He said: ‘It is particularly fitting on International Women’s Day that a few of our female soldiers met such an inspiring female role model. It is a real honour for all the guardsmen to meet their Royal Colonel in the field here on Salisbury Plain and demonstrate a few of our basic operational skills.’
Last week, The Prince and Princess of Wales visited the Welsh Guards in William’s first visit at their new colonel for St David’s Day.