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The Prince and Princess of Wales attend the Irish Guards’ St Patrick’s Day Parade

Published 17 March 2023

Read more about Their Royal Highnesses visit to the annual parade

The Prince of Wales, outgoing Colonel, Irish Guards, was accompanied by The Princess of Wales, incoming Colonel, to visit the Irish Guards at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Aldershot. 

Following a recent visit to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards on Salisbury Plain, the visit was the first time that The Princess attended the parade as Colonel of the Regiment.

Her Royal Highness presented the traditional sprigs of shamrock to the Officers and Guardsmen, who in turn issued it along the ranks, as well as presenting it to the Irish Wolf Hound regimental mascot - Seamus.

Except in wartime, the presentation is traditionally made by a member of The Royal Family. This task was first performed in 1901 by Queen Alexandra and later by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Since the latter's death, the presentation has been made by The Princess Royal and The Princess of Wales (as The Duchess of Cambridge). On the regiment's 50th anniversary in 1950, King George VI made the presentation in person.

During the parade, The Prince and Princess both gave speeches:

"Whilst I am extremely happy to be here celebrating St Patrick’s Day with you once again, I’m incredibly sad to be giving this speech, as it really does mean my time as your Colonel has come to an end. 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." - The Prince of Wales

"I really couldn’t be prouder to stand in front of you here today. It really is a true honour to be your Colonel. I am here to listen to you, to support you, and to champion you in all you do – this is a responsibility I do not take lightly." - The Princess of Wales

The parade concluded with a Royal Salute and march-past where The Princess of Wales took the salute as the new Colonel. 

Following the parade, Their Royal Highnesses met the Irish Guards Association, which comprises of past members of the Irish Guards.

The Prince and Princess also members of the Regiment before sitting for official Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess photographs. 

The visit finished at the Junior Ranks dining hall where the Senior Guardsman in the Battalion proposed a toast to Their Royal Highnesses.