The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Irish Guards’ traditional St Patrick’s Day Parade today in Hounslow, where they met Domhnall the wolf hound.
William and Kate arrived at the Calvary Barracks in Hounslow this morning, and attended a reception before venturing outside in the March snow(!) to watch the parade. For information on the Duchess’ outfit, head here.
Prince William is the Colonel of the Irish Guards and even wore their striking red uniform on his wedding day in 2011. Since then, the couple have regularly met the soldiers and hand out shamrocks on St Patrick’s Day.
At today’s parade, the Duke and Duchess met with members of the Irish Guards, including their famous mascot, Domhnall (pronounced ‘doh-nall’) the wolf hound, who wore a red cape for the occasion. This is now the fifth time they have met the canine mascot.
This tradition of handing out shamrocks on the day of the Irish patron saint dates back to 1901, when guards received the symbol with a note from Queen Alexandra; she continued the gift until her death in 1925. This has been performed by The Queen Mother in the past, and also Princess Anne, in the year after her grandmother’s death.
The shamrock is a sprig of clovers, worn by the soldiers on their hats.
Catherine then presented shamrocks to members of the guards, officers and warrant officers – there was even a shamrock for Domhnall! The Duchess attached the sprig to his collar, before giving him a pat on the head.
As colonel, William took a salute, before the men headed off the parade ground.
William and Catherine then took time to speak to members of the guards. Despite the freezing temperatures, the couple appeared to be in good spirits, laughing and joking with the soldiers.
The future King and Queen also posed for an official photograph with the Irish Guards, an annual tradition.
After the visit, the Duke and Duchess were able to warm up at the guardsman’s lunch. At this traditional event, the longest-serving member of the guards proposes a toast to the royal guests and thanks the Duchess for presenting shamrocks to the guards.
William toasted with a pint of Guiness but Kate stuck to water.
A toast and 3 Cheers for the Royal Couple from @irish_guards junior ranks after their #StPatricksDayParade at Cavalry Barracks, Hounslow. #huzzah @KensingtonRoyal @BritishArmy #adropoftheblackstuff #guinness @GuinnessIreland pic.twitter.com/GM2LIh7ZLM
— The Army in London (@ArmyInLondon) March 17, 2018
It was originally thought that this would be Catherine’s final engagement prior to giving birth to her third child, however, Kensington Palace have announced another two engagements for the Duchess, including a symposium on Wednesday 21st March and a joint engagement with William the following day.