Prince William and Kate Middleton delighted crowds as they made their first joint appearance of the year on Monday.
In keeping with tradition, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the annual St Patrick’s Day Parade at Mons Barracks in Aldershot for the third year in a row.
Excitement was in the air as some 300 men from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards waited for William and Kate to make their entrance. As they arrived, the national anthem was played.
While William was dressed immaculately in military uniform, attending as Colonel of the regiment, royal watchers and fashionistas alike were quick to note that Kate was wearing an emerald green Hobbs coat — unlike previous visits when she donned the same green Emilia Wickstead coat.
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The mother-of-one looked elegant as ever and seemed to be enjoying the spring weather. Kate paid tribute to the Irish feast day with a gold shamrock brooch that belonged to Queen Alexandra pinned to her chest, and accessorised with a Gina Foster hat.
The Duchess, 32, was tasked with presenting the traditional springs of shamrock to officers and guardsmen. The shamrocks were then passed on along the ranks — a custom that was started in 1901 by Queen Alexandra.
One special recipient to receive a sprig from Kate was Domhnall — the Irish Guards’ official mascot. The Irish wolfhound, who has the rank of Guardsman and can apparently be promoted for good conduct, had been especially groomed for the royals’ visit.
Kate looked particularly charmed as she petted Domhnall who had been waiting patiently in the officers’ line. Domhnall had played the all important part of leading the soldiers out at the start of the parade.
As William and Kate passed down the line, the military men looked delighted to be greeted by the royal couple. Kate made a special effort to stop and greet each officer, and gave them her winning smile. The Duke and Duchess both beamed away as they enjoyed the marching band and sound of the bagpipes playing.
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Following the march, William and Kate — who hold the Irish title of Baron and Lady Carrickfergus — met members of the regiment before joining the officers and sergeants for photographs. The beautiful Kate smiled broadly at the camera as she was seated close to her husband.
The Duke and Duchess then visited the Guardsmens’ cookhouse and the Officers’ Mess where they toasted the Irish day. William and Kate will then have a private luncheon with the officers.
Last year, Kate was five months pregnant when she attended the parade. It was then that she revealed she was hoping for a little boy who was later born in July.
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The Duchess suffered a slight mishap on the day, when the heel of her shoe became stuck in a grate. Kate dealt with the situation with her usual good grace, smiling as she bent down to dislodge the heel, while William took her arm.