The couple looked relaxed upon arrival, fresh from a weekend in Bucklebury with the Middletons where they celebrated Mother's Day. We expect Prince George and William had a special gift or two for Kate, and of course it was undoubtedly important for the Duchess to enjoy the day with her own mother Carole. The group were spotted at a local play centre in the area where they built sandcastles with George.
The Duke joined his wife in his role as colonel of the regiment, which he was made in May 2011; it was his first honorary position in the army. Her Majesty the Queen is Colonel in Chief of the regiment. As you all remember, the Prince opted to wear the Irish Guards tunic for the royal wedding.
Two hundred soldiers marched on to the Parade Square at the barracks wearing full ceremonial uniform of scarlet tunics and bearskins.
Her Royal Highness then presented the shamrock to officers and warrant officers who in turn issued it along the ranks.
Simon Perry shared a photo of the shamrock sprigs.
|Simon Perry Twitter Feed|
Kensington Palace tweeted 'The shamrock the Irish Guards receive is tucked behind the Cap Star on the forage cap'.
|Kensington Palace Twitter Feed|
This follows a century-old tradition inaugurated by Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, in 1901 when a decree stated:
'Her Majesty the Queen is pleased to order that in future, upon St. Patrick's Day, all ranks of her Irish regiments shall wear, as a distinction, a sprig of shamrock in their head dress to commemorate the gallantry of her Irish soldiers during the recent battles in South Africa.'
The tradition has become synonymous with a number of royals since, most notably the Queen Mother, who had a long affiliation and love for the Irish Guards after attending the the annual military parade for the first time in 1927. It wasn't until 1964 she started to present the Royal Shamrock to the Battalion, describing it as a "great pleasure which has enabled me to forge a link with the regiment I greatly cherish." The regiment supplied the pallbearers for her funeral in 2002.
It is very much becoming a tradition associated with the Duchess of Cambridge in recent times.
Today marks the fourth consecutive year Kate has presented shamrock at the parade, and it's a tradition we'll see continue - possibly for decades to come. Below we see Kate in 2012 and 2013 in an Emilia Wickstead coat, and last year wearing the Hobbs Persephone trench.
More on the 1st Batallion Irish Guards from the official website:
'The Irish Guards, part of the Guards Division, a Foot Guards regiment based in Mons Barracks, Aldershot. The current regiment was formed in 1900 by order of Queen Victoria in recognition of the many courageous acts carried out by Irish soldiers in the Second Boer War.
The regiment takes its motto "Quis Separabit" or "Who shall separate us?" from the Order of St. Patrick, an order of chivalry founded by George III. The regiment is involved in public and ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St James's Palace and The Tower of London.
The Irish Guards is a Light Role Infantry Battalion affectionately, and widely, known as The Micks.'
Soldiers of 1st Battalion were in celebratory form today.
|British Army Twitter Feed|
Kate met veterans.
It's always a treat to see the ever-adorable Domhnall, the regimental mascot. It's his third year taking part in the ceremonies. Below we see the Irish wolfhound with his handler, Drummer David Steed.
I do think Kate has a soft spot for Domhnall too :)
The Duke and Duchess met members of the regiment before sitting for officers' and sergeants’ mess photographs.
A smiling Kate.
William and Kate visited a marquee where all-ranks were gathered.
The longest serving guardsman in the battalion proposed a toast to the Duke and Duchess and thanked Kate for presenting the shamrock.
Jeanne Duncan-Dolcy was delighted when the Duchess complimented her on the colour of her coat.
|Jeanne Duncan Dolcy Twitter Feed|
In surprising news, Kate selected a bespoke brown (yes brown) coat by Catherine Walker today. It's a beautiful garment and the silhouette works very well for the Duchess at this stage of her pregnancy, though I would have preferred green for the nature of the occasion and sartorially speaking. It's the first year Kate hasn't opted for green at this engagement.
Susan from What Kate Wore emailed Catherine Walker and received this response:
'The coat is a chestnut brown double wool crepe.'
Kate wore a brown dress underneath.
And wore her much loved £245 'Betty Boop' Beret by Lock & Co. It was complimented by Kate's elegant updo.
The Duchess wore her brown suede Emmy Shoes Valerie pumps and carried the matching clutch.
And accessorised with her Kiki McDonough Citrine Drop Earrings. The 18K gold citrine pear-drop earrings are available at Neiman Marcus for $740.
Once again, the Duchess wore the Irish Guards gold shamrock brooch this year. The three-leaf brooch which has been worn by the Queen Mother and Princess Anne, belongs to the regiment and they determine to whom it be loaned.
Kate completed the look with a pair of brown gloves.
You can watch a video at You Tube. There's a cute moment where Domnhnall's shamrock falls off.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh!
We'll see you tomorrow for Kate's engagement at Brookhill Children's Centre.