Following what has proved to be quite a tumultuous week, it was back to business for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this morning who, ahead of their trip to Paris this afternoon, visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow.
The annual St Patrick's Day event has become something of a favourite among readers with the Duchess presenting shamrocks every year since the wedding apart from last year. Prince William is 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.
Mini-Micks, the cadet wing of the Irish Guards line up ready for the parade.
350 soldiers marched onto the Parade Square at Cavalry Barracks led by their mascot, the Irish Wolfhound Domhnall.
Three cheers for the Queen.
7 year-old Katie, presents a lovely posy to HRH. Her dad is Colour Sergeant Darren Lorimer of The Irish Guards regiment.
Kate chatting to a little boy at the event.
The Duchess presented the shamrock to officers and warrant officers, who in turn issue it along the ranks.
I don't know about you, but seeing the ever-so-cute Domhnall is a real highlight for me; the Duchess always looks delighted to see him too :)
The Army in London shared this video ahead of Domhnall getting ready ahead of his big appearance this morning. Simon Perry reports he prepped with "3 boneless chicken thighs, 5-mile walk & scarlet coat".
Time to get ready for Domhnall! The Irish Guards mascot will lead out his @BritishArmy colleagues on their #stpatricksday parade. pic.twitter.com/fz0ysukJI7— The Army in London (@ArmyInLondon) March 17, 2017
The 1st Battalion Irish Guards affectionately and widely known as the Micks, are a Light Role Infantry Battalion currently stationed in Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow. 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.
As a Foot Guards Regiment the Irish Guards Regiment is involved in state ceremonial and public duties at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St James's Palace and the Tower of London.
St Patrick's Day is the traditional celebration of the Irish Guards and fresh shamrock is presented to members of the regiment. The Battalion is made up of five companies with a variety of supporting arms, and has deployed in recent conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Battalion has also recently carried out a tour of Cyprus under the United Nations. As well as deploying on operations the Battalion has also deployed on various oversea exercises to Bosnia, Latvia, Oman, Kenya and numerous other countries.
The shamrock the Irish Guards receive is tucked behind the Cap Star on the forage cap, as seen on Prince William below.
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.'
King George VI presenting shamrock in 1950.
|Kensington Palace Twitter|
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 provided the pallbearers for her funeral in 2002.
A lovely photo of the late Queen Mother and Her Majesty at the parade in 1995 at Chelsea Barracks.
|Kensington Palace Twitter|
The parade concluded with a march-past where Prince William took the salute.
The Duke and Duchess then met members of the regiment before sitting for official Officers' and Sergeants’ Mess photographs.
Afterwards they met soldiers and their families.
The Duke and Duchess visited the Guardsmen's lunch.
The longest-serving Guardsman in the battalion proposed a toast to the royal couple, and thanked the Duchess for presenting the shamrock.
The Duke and Duchess enjoy a sip of their Guinness.
Simon Perry shared a video of the toast.
Watch: William and Kate (sipping Guinness) get a raucous St Patrick's Day toast at the Irish Guards barracks in Hounslow, west London pic.twitter.com/y8t0bp247V— Simon Perry (@SPerryPeoplemag) March 17, 2017
Below we see Kate in 2012 and 2013 wearing a green Emilia Wickstead coat; in 2014 the Duchess opted for her very stylish Hobbs London Persephone trench; and in 2015 she surprised us in a chestnut brown Catherine Walker coat.
Today, Kate opted for a bespoke Catherine Walker coat as she did in 2015. This time, a beautiful dark green military-style coat with velvet trim at the collar, pocket flaps and cuffs. Catherine Walker and Diana's fashion relationship was an iconic one (something like Kate enjoys with Sarah Burton) so it's wonderful to see another generation supporting the fashion house, and so so successfully too. By and large I've mostly loved the elegant and sophisticated pieces by the brand Kate has worn.
There are notable similarities between today's Catherine Walker coat and the style the Duchess chose for her arrival in New Zealand at the beginning of the 2014 tour.
Kate wore a rich Lock & Co. green hat, which perfectly complements her coat. @KatieMidleton on Twitter noticed it's actually a repeat. Kate first wore the piece on Christmas Day 2015.
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 also wore a sprig of shamrock on her lapel.
Kate accessorised with her very pretty Monica Vinader Siren earrings. The $195 earrings are described: "These simple, sophisticated earrings are great for everyday wear. The organic, irregular shaped multi-faceted Green Onyx gemstone is encased in 18ct Gold Plated Vermeil on Sterling Silver." They are currently available on Monica Vinader's website.
And her Cartier Ballon Bleu watch.
It very much looks like the Duchess sported a new pair of Gianvito Rossi pumps in a rich green. We'll update should the exact pair be found.
And as seen below, Kate carried a new green clutch.
As always it was a very special event. One more shot of Domhnall? I think so :)
Next, the Cambridges will travel to Paris. What's on the agenda for day one? They are due to meet President Hollande at Élysée Palace at 4.30 pm (3.30 pm UK time). They will then attend a reception at the British Embassy Paris to mark the launch of "Les Voisons" which will celebrate cultural ties between the United Kingdom and France. And this evening the couple will attend a black-tie dinner hosted by the Ambassador. The British Ambassador to France, Edward Llewellyn shared this beautiful photo from his official residence, Hôtel Charost, where William and Kate are said to be staying.
We'll have a 'First Look' photo once images are available from the arrival, and I expect we'll see a chagce of outfit for the Duchess.