Around 200 soldiers in Aldershot were honoured by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday (March 17) as the royal couple visited the town for St Patrick’s Day for the third year in a row.
Their Royal Highnesses were once again guests of honour at Mons Barracks, where the Duchess Kate Middleton presented the traditional sprigs of shamrock to the Irish Guards.
Resplendent in a flowing dark coat, HRH Kate and her smartly uniformed husband HRH William arrived at the barracks at around 10.30am for the historic ceremony.
The couple, who wed nearly four years ago, are expecting their second child in April following the birth of baby George in July 2013.
A heavily pregnant Kate began handing out the shamrocks, a traditional symbol of Ireland, at around 11.15am to the 200 officers and guardsmen amassed at the parade square. They were watched by families and veterans.
The custom dates back more than 100 years after it was inaugurated by Queen Alexandra, wife to the then king Edward VII, back in 1901.The regimental mascot Domhnall, an Irish wolf hound was also lucky enough to meet the Duchess again to receive his own sprig of shamrock.
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Turner said he was honoured to have the Duke and Duchess return to the barracks.
He said: “It’s a day we always look forward to. It’s our day to come together and celebrate the guards’ existence.
“It is a particularly exciting day for Aldershot and all the families who come into the camp.
“We also invite other visitors, this year we are welcoming back quite a few people who served in Afghanistan and celebrating their contribution.
“We do have a battalion march and an extended day for the family and older soldiers, but it’s not a too complicated affair.
“We are always honoured to have the Duke and Duchess. He is formerly our colonel and it is a long standing tradition.
"We are hoping it is going to continue for many years.”