It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which means it’s time once again to enjoy the jewels worn by the Princess of Wales as she celebrates with the Irish Guards!
The Prince and Princess of Wales arrived at Mons Barracks in Aldershot on Friday for the annual St. Patrick’s Parade and celebration with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.
As she has almost every year since her royal marriage, Princess Catherine presented sprigs of shamrocks during the parade. The tradition of royal ladies presenting shamrocks to the guards was begun by Queen Alexandra.
Kate also received shamrocks of her own during the parade. They were fastened to an anchor thread on her coat, placed there specifically for that purpose.
Even the regimental mascot, an Irish Wolfhound name Seamus, received shamrocks from the princess during the parade.
The parade also marked a passing of the torch moment for the royals. Prince William was made Colonel of the Irish Guards in February 2011, shortly before the couple’s wedding. But following the late Queen’s death, there’s been a reshuffling of roles. William is now the Colonel of the Welsh Guards, and Kate took over as Colonel of the Irish Guards in December. In his remarks on Friday, William noted, “I may be stepping aside, but in Colonel Catherine you have a committed, focused, and already incredibly loyal 11th Colonel.”
Kate also made remarks during the celebration. She noted, “I really couldn’t be prouder to stand in front of you here today. It really is a true honor to be your Colonel. I am here to listen to you, to support you, and to champion you in all that you do. This is a responsibility I do not take lightly.” She concluded by thanking her husband, “Colonel William,” for his dedication to the regiment during his tenure with them.
Kate also took the salute as Colonel for the first time during the parade.
The prince and princess posed for an official photograph after the parade had ended.
And then they headed inside the barracks to meet with members of the regiment and their families.
Here, Kate chats with the children of one of the officers. (Love the shamrock tights!)
They also shared in a traditional toast with Guinness. William joked in his speech that he would “likely fail once again to finish a pint.”
For the parade, Kate wore a teal ensemble featuring a coat dress by Catherine Walker and a matching Jane Taylor hat.
She wore two familiar pieces of jewelry with the outfit. Her earrings are the petite diamond and emerald cluster drops that she has worn several times for this event.
The earrings have been in her jewelry box for more than a decade. She wore them in public for the first time in November 2012 during a visit to the Natural History Museum in London.
This is the third time that Kate has worn the emerald cluster earrings on St. Patrick’s Day. Her first appearance in the earrings at the event was ten years ago, in March 2013.
She wore them again for the St. Patrick’s Day parade last year.
She finished off her ensemble this year with a jewel that she has worn every year for the event since 2012: the Irish Guards Brooch.
The shamrock-shaped brooch is made of textured gold and features a single emerald set in its center. There are varying provenances that float around for the brooch, but it certainly belongs to the regiment and is loaned out to the royal lady most associated with the Irish Guards. Since 2011, that’s been Kate.
The brooch has been worn by other members of the royal family in previous years, including the Queen Mother, who wears it above for the regiment’s centenary service in June 2000. The Princess Royal wore the brooch to present shamrocks to the regiment for many years as well.
Kate has been wearing the brooch since shortly after her royal wedding. Her first public appearance in the jewel was in June 2011, when she and William attended the regiment’s medal parade at Victoria Barracks in Windsor.
She has worn the brooch each time she has presented shamrocks to the regiment on St. Patrick’s Day since 2012 (pictured above).
She’s also worn the brooch for events in Northern Ireland, including a garden party at Hillsborough Castle in June 2016.
The outgoing and incoming honorary colonels waved farewell to the regiment as they departed the barracks after the celebration. Here’s to another year of shamrocks and emeralds!