VIDEO: Duke and Duchess shine on St Patrick's DayBy Amy Taylor
March 18, 2013
A RAINY day in Aldershot was brightened by a royal visit to help mark St Patrick's Day with the Irish Guards.
The annual tradition saw the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge make the trip to Mons Barracks at Aldershot Garrison, where they were met by the regiment in full scarlet ceremonial uniform for a parade on March 17.
Wet, cold and five months' pregnant, Kate smiled throughout, talking cheerfully with each of the guardsmen she presented with a shamrock, as tradition dictates.
She gave the bottle-green Emilia Wickstead coat she wore for the event last year a second outing, but wore her hair up with a black felt hat and black suede heels. Her husband William wore No 1 Ceremonial dress of a dark blue coat, crimson sash belt and the ceremonial silver sword.
As Colonel of the Regiment, the Duke received his shamrock first from his wife, in the continuation of a century-old tradition of a senior female member of the royal family presenting the gift.
Last to receive his shamrock was Domhnall, the regiment's seven-month old Irish Wolfhound mascot, taking part in his first official engagement since completing his training.
The royal couple braved the relentless rain to meet former guardsmen and cadets, before posing for official photographs with the regiment. They then moved on to the Officers' Mess, where celebrations were already well-underway ahead of what was expected to be a late night for the soldiers.
The traditional toast with sherry was made by Guardsmen Jason Perry and Lee Wheeler, though Kate chose not to take part, leaving the drink to William.
Farnborough's Cleeve Acheson, at 93, was the oldest veteran of the Irish Guards to be presented to the couple. He joined the regiment in 1937 and saw active service in Egypt, Palestine and Italy.
It was his second time meeting the Duchess, who attended the Aldershot parade last year by herself, while William, a search and rescue pilot in the RAF, completed a mission in the Falklands.
"She remembered me from last year," said Mr Acheson. "I was interviewed by the Duke about my years as a guardsman, and I told him I had written a book about my career which is in Farnborough library.
"I enjoy good health on the whole but taking my age into consideration I was a little bit stiff the next day."
For more on this story, see this week's News & Mail, out on Thursday March 21.