Princess of Wales takes first salute as new Colonel of the Irish Guards
Princess of Wales visits Mons Barracks in Aldershot to present sprigs of shamrock to officers and guardsmen at their St Patrick’s Day parade
Prince William, outgoing Colonel, and Kate, incoming Colonel, attended the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Aldershot. It marked Kate’s first time attending the parade as Colonel of the regiment, having recently visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards on Salisbury Plain.
She began her celebrations of the Irish holiday by visiting Mons Barracks in Aldershot alongside the Prince of Wales, where they marked an informal handover to her as the new Colonel.
Kate presented traditional sprigs of shamrock to the officers and guardsmen, as well as to the regimental mascot, a two-year-old Irish wolfound called Turlough Mór, also known as Séamus.
In his final speech to the guardsmen, Willaim said he was “incredibly sad” that his time as their Colonel had come to an end, but said his wife would be a “committed” and “incredibly loyal” replacement.
“It has been one of the great honours of my life to hold that title; I’m proud of everything it stands for – just as I’m immensely proud of every single one of you,” he said.
The Prince reminisced about his visits to the guardsmen, saying: “From exercises and range days here in the UK, to training overseas – such as Kenya in 2018 – I have such vivid memories of witnessing what you do so brilliantly in the field.”
He described their work in Africa as “inspirational”, and thanked all the families who had joined to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Aldershot.
“I hope you know how truly grateful I am to all of you too,” he said
“On this, my 13th and final St Patrick’s Day as Colonel, not only am I saddened that I’ll likely fail once again to finish a pint of Guinness… but I am also sad that I won’t in future see more of you, the families, whose unwavering support enables these outstanding men and women to do what they do.”
William added: “I may be stepping aside, but in Colonel Catherine you have a committed, focused, and already incredibly loyal 11th Colonel. “As you serve together over the years ahead, know that I will continue to watch you, with huge pride in having been one of you.”
The Prince finished his speech by paying tribute to Major General Sir Sebastian Roberts, William’s predecessor as Colonel, who died last week. “Loved by generations of Irish Guardsmen and many, many others, he was, quite simply, a phenomenon,” he said.
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