The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge braved the chilly wind and snow to celebrate St Patrick’s Day with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at the Cavalry Barracks at Hounslow on 17 March 2018.
The Duchess, who is due to give birth to her third child in April, wore a dark green Catherine Walker coat, a matching Gina Forster hat and black gloves to keep warm in the freezing cold weather.
About 350 soldiers marched onto Parade Square wearing their red uniforms, led by their mascot, the Irish Wolfhound Domhnall.
The Duchess of Cambridge smiled as she presented shamrocks to the officers and to Domhnall and gave the mascot a pat afterwards.
The Gift of Shamrock dates back to 1901 when Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII, sent four boxes of shamrock and a note addressed to the Colonel of the Regiment, for distribution to the men on parade.
Queen Alexandra continued making this gift every year, and distributed it in person, until her death in 1925.
The St Patrick’s Day Parade concluded when The Duke, as Colonel of the regiment, took the salute as the soldiers marched past before three loud cheers were declared for the royal couple.
The Duke and Duchess later chatted with members of the Regiment, before sitting for official photographs, and met with soldiers and their families.
The Duke and Duchess attended the Guardsman’s lunch where the longest-serving Guardsman in the Battalion proposed a toast to the royal couple and he also thanked The Duchess for presenting the Gift of Shamrock.
However, the Duchess declined the traditional pint of Guinness this year.
The Irish Guards are no strangers to the cold weather, as they had endured freezing temperatures and heavy snow courtesy of the ‘Beast from the East’ when they conducted the Changing of the Guard.
In the New Year, the battalion returned to public duties, notably conducting Changing of the Guard in the heavy snow of Storm Emma in recent weeks.
The wolfhound is the regiment’s longest-serving mascot since 1985.
Queen Victoria formed The Irish Guards, known throughout the British Army as ‘The Micks’, on 1 April 1900 in recognition of their many acts of courage and bravery during the Second Boer War in South Africa.
The Irish Guards proved their worth in numerous major conflicts ever since, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
They also have the privilege of guarding The Royal Family and are seen at royal palaces every so often wearing the famous red tunic and bearskin cap.