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Duke and Duchess in Aldershot for St Patrick's Day parade

The royal couple presented shamrocks and long service medals to members of the Irish Guards - including their Irish Wolfhound mascot - and spoke to soldiers about Prince George and football

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were guests of honour at the Irish Guards' St Patrick's Day Parade in Aldershot on Monday morning.

Prince William was at Mons Barracks as Colonel of the Regiment to present medals of long service, while his wife gave out shamrocks to the officers and guardsmen.

The Army Cadet group known as the 'Mini Micks' were also present.

The duke and duchess spoke with soldiers both past and present about life, family and football.

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Regimental Sergeant Major, Ray Collister, 56, from Tamworth, served with the Irish Guards from 1979 to 2004 and met the royal couple at the ceremony.

He talked to His Royal Highness about fatherhood and whether a sibling for Prince George might be around the corner.

He explained "When a baby is born,  we say a new 'mick' is on the way.

"So I asked 'are there any more micks on the way?' and he said 'when there's time, when there's time'."

The couple's eight-month-old son was the topic of conversation with others as well.

Ray Kidd, another former Irish Guard who met the couple after the parade, said: "I asked him if he can bring George along next time which Prince William said would be a good idea so long as they could find a uniform small enough."

 

The parade of around 300 soldiers marching behind the Band of the Irish Guards began at 11am.

The guards were joined by a company of reserve soldiers from the London regiment.

As part of the ceremonial presentations, Her Royal Highness pinned a shamrock on the unit's mascot Domhnall, an Irish Wolfhound.

The duchess also presented shamrocks to officers who then issued them throughout their ranks, a tradition that dates back to Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII, in 1901.

The couple then presented long-service medals to Lance Sergeant Eccles and Colour Sergeant Bright, the latter having taught the young prince as he began his military career at Sandhurst.

 

The St Patrick's Day celebrations continued inside the Guardsmen's Cookhouse where the duke and duchess were led in a toast, Prince William knocking back a glass of Red Croft Triple Crown and Kate having a glass of Croft Original.

Guardsman Glen Tierney, 25, of Boreham Wood, was one of the soldiers selected to lead the toast.

Speaking afterwards, he said: "It was amazing. I've always wanted to meet them

"He [Prince William] was talking about football, we support opposing teams. I'm a Tottenham Hotspur fan and he's a [Aston] Villa fan.

"He said 'it's nice to see a Tottenham fan who has a smile on his face'.

"[He told me] George is doing really well, crawling, very busy getting ready for Australia."

 
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