Irish eyes were smiling on Saturday as Kate Middleton completed her first solo military engagement. The Duchess attended the Irish Guards St Patrick’s Day parade at Mons Barracks in Aldershot. She was there to present sprigs of Shamrock to members of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.
For the occasion the Duchess wore a green coat dress by British based Emilia Wickstead complemented by a chocolate brown Locke and Co hat. She also wore an Irish Guards brooch by Cartier that originally belonged to the Queen Mother.
As the march got under way the parade ground at Mons Barracks was crowded with soldiers’ friends and families as 450 guards marched in their full regalia of scarlet tunics and bearskins.
The excitement was all too much for two soldiers who fainted before the Duchess arrived.
After watching the military parade, the Duchess gave 40 three leaf clovers to officers. The Duchess also presented the regiment’s mascot, Irish Wolfhound Conmeal, with a shamrock. Afterwards it was said by the dog’s handler that the Wolfhound shook his collar in approval.
It’s believed the tradition of the Royal Gift of Shamrock dates back to just after the turn of the century when Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, asked for the shamrock to be passed among the men on parade.
The Duchess smiled when the daughter of the Regimental Sergeant Major presented her with a posy.
There was also time for photographs as the Duchess was photographed first with 100 sergeants then 40 officers.
With the formalities out of the way the Duchess then headed for a private lunch with officers just taking a brief detour to visit the Junior Ranks Mess Hall. There the Duchess was toasted with cans of lager and small glasses of Irish sherry where one soldier said, ‘Your Royal Highness. On behalf of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards we welcome you and wish you a Happy St Patrick’s Day. We also thank you for the shamrocks that you have presented to us.’
Did you hosts a fancy dress theme party for St Patricks day?