William And Kate In Hampshire For St Patrick's Day Parade

The Duchess of Cambridge has presented shamrocks to Hampshire soldiers from the Irish Guards as the regiment marked St Patrick's Day in traditional fashion.

William and Kate in Hampshire on St Patrick's Day

Kate handed out the sprigs as William, Colonel of the Irish Guards, watched the ceremony at the regiment's base Mons Barracks in Aldershot.

Hundreds of proud wives, girlfriends, and parents were seated on the parade square to enjoy the presentation of the shamrocks, a century-old tradition inaugurated in 1901 by Queen Alexandra, the wife of the Edward VII.

In the past the role was famously carried out by the Queen Mother, but also performed by the Princess Royal and many others over the years, in many different countries.

The Cambridges arrived at the military base by chauffeur driven car and were greeted by the commanding officer 1st Battalion Irish Guards, Lieutenant Colonel Ed Boanas.

In keeping with the day, the Duchess wore a stylish emerald green coat by Hobbs and matching hat by Gina Foster, and wore a gold Cartier Irish Guards brooch, a Royal Family heirloom also worn by the Queen Mother.

The Duke looked smart in a Household Division frock coat and carried a ceremonial sword.

Hundreds of proud wives, girlfriends, and parents were seated on the parade square to enjoy the presentation of the shamrocks, a century-old tradition inaugurated in 1901 by Queen Alexandra, the wife of Edward VII.

In the past, the role was famously carried out by the Queen Mother, but also performed by the Princess Royal and many others over the years, in many different countries.

In keeping with the day, the Duchess wore a stylish emerald green coat by Hobbs and matching hat by Gina Foster, and wore a gold Cartier Irish Guards brooch, a Royal Family heirloom also worn by the Queen Mother.

At the start of the ceremony William was one the first to receive a shamrock from his wife and, following tradition, tucked it under the regimental star on the front of his cap.

Before the royal couple were around 300 soldiers - the majority from the Irish Guards. but they were joined on parade by a company of reserve soldiers from the London Regiment with whom they are paired under the new Army2020 restructuring process.

The event is the one day when the entire regimental family comes together and there were veterans on the parade ground proudly displaying their medals on their suits and a small contingent of cadets.

Kate, who wore a large shamrock sprig on her left shoulder, presented baskets of the plant to officers and warrant officers, who handed them out amongst the soldiers.

Officers received their sprigs from the Duchess and she chatted for a while to each man in turn.

After the presentation of the shamrocks, the royal couple went to the cookhouse, where dozens of guardsmen were sitting down to lunch. They accepted a toast in their honour, with the Duke and Duchess drinking port while most of the servicemen downed Guinness and Fosters lager.

They chatted to Guardsman Glenn Tierney, 25, who said afterwards they talked about the win the Duke's football team Aston Villa enjoyed over Manchester City.

He said: "It was amazing to meet them. I joked to William it's nice to see a Villa fan with a smile on his face.

"I asked them all about George, I'm nosey like that. He said he's doing really well and he's busy crawling and eating.

"They said they're very busy sorting everything out for taking him to Australia. They said they were excited and looking forward to it.''

During the visit, William also chatted to Ray Kidd, 72, a former regimental cook, who said: "I asked him if he'd bring George next time and he said 'Yes, that's a good idea. I'll get him fitted for a uniform'.''

William met one of his former Sandhurst instructors during his visit to Mons Barracks, the 1st Battalion Irish Guards' Regimental Sergeant Major - WO1 James Parke.

It was his final day in his role as tomorrow he will become a commissioned officer in the regiment with the rank of captain.

Speaking about William the senior soldier said: "After seeing him commissioned for him to be here for the St Patrick's Day parade is a real honour.

"I hold him in high esteem as our Colonel and he was a good cadet at Sandhurst.''

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