On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 2012,  the Duchess of Cambridge visited the Irish Guards at their barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire.  This royal tradition began in 1901 with Queen Alexandra when she presented shamrocks to the newly formed regiment.   The Duchess of Cambridge stood on a dais to receive the royal salute.  This marks Catherine’s first solo military engagement.  450 soldiers were on parade and were accompanied by their regimental mascot, Conmeal, an Irish wolfhound.  The Duchess of Cambridge presented shamrocks to 40 officers and warrant officers.  She then pinned a shamrock on to the collar of Conmeal.  Catherine wore a green Emilia Wickstead dress and brown Lock & Co.  hat.   She also wore a gold shamrock Cartier brooch that had belonged to Queen Alexandra and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.   Catherine visited the Junior Ranks Mess Hall where she was toasted: “Your Royal Highness, on behalf of the 1st Battalion the Irish Guards, we wish you a happy St Patrick’s Day.  Thank you for the shamrocks you have presented to us.”  She in turn toasted the regiment with sips of Harvey’s Bristol Cream.  The duchess then headed off for a private luncheon with Officers at the barracks.  Photos by Getty Images.


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