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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Jennifer Newton

Kate Middleton pays tribute to 'incredibly sad' William as they mark St Patrick's Day

The Princess of Wales has paid tribute to her "incredibly sad" husband Prince William as they marked St Patrick's Day in their customary way.

The couple visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Aldershot for the annual St Patrick's Day Parade, where they both gave moving speeches.

It is Kate’s first time attending the parade as Colonel of the regiment, having recently visited the 1st Battalion Irish Guards on Salisbury Plain.

READ MORE: St Patrick’s Day live updates - Supermarket opening hours, parade times and more

The princess, in a teal custom Catherine Walker coat and matching hat, presented the traditional sprigs of shamrock to the officers and guardsmen, who will in turn issued it along the ranks, as well as to the Irish wolfhound regimental mascot.

Kate pays tribute to William at the St. Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks (Getty Images)
The couple share a joke during the parade (Getty Images)

The parade concluded with a royal salute and march-past, where Kate took the salute as the new Colonel.

William, her husband, is the outgoing Colonel, and he spoke of his "incredible sadness" at giving up the role.

He said: "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.

Kate hands out traditional sprigs of Shamrock (PA)
Kate chats to members of the Irish Guards (Getty Images)

"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."

However, he added: "I may be stepping aside, but in Colonel Catherine you have a committed, focussed, and already incredibly loyal 11th Colonel."

While in her address, Kate added: "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 couple enjoy a Guinness as they mark St Patrick's Day (Getty Images)
The couple take a sip of the tipple (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

She continued: "Before I close, however, I want to thank Colonel William. He has always talked about his fierce pride for this Regiment. I know he will continue to support us all in the work we do."

After the parade the couple met the Irish Guards Association, which is made up of past members of the Irish Guards.

Kate was invited to inspect the front rank whilst William inspected the second rank.

The visit ended indoors in a packed hall with William taking a pint of Guinness and Kate nursing a half pint.

The couple mingled with Irish Guards, chatting about Army life and Saturday’s big rugby clash between Ireland and England.

The princess presents shamrock to the Irish Guards Irish Wolfhound dog Seamus (AFP via Getty Images)
Kate takes the salute as Colonel of the Irish Guards (AFP via Getty Images)

Kate's appearance at the Irish Guards' St Patrick's Day parade comes just weeks after she ditched her heels and donned camouflage as she joined them in snowy conditions for battlefield training.

Kate paid a visit to the Salisbury Plain Training Area in Wiltshire to meet with members of the Guards for the first time since becoming their Colonel.

Despite the wintry weather the princess wrapped up warm for the visit and got stuck in with battlefield casualty drills and could be seen assisting the soldiers.

And she said that taking part in military first aid exercises complete with fake gunfire and explosions really brought the realities of their training "to life".

Kate wore a custom Catherine Walker coat (Getty Images)
Kate said she was proud to be the new Colonel of the Irish Guards (Samir Hussein/WireImage)

Kate enthusiastically asked questions about the different first aid methods used by medics in the Army as she tended to the fake injury during the casualty simulation.

It was a hands-on training experience as she held the soldier's leg while she was taught how to wrap the wound and check his vital signs.

As she placed the tourniquet on his calf, which is used to stop life-threatening bleeding, the Princess apologised and said "it’s the first time I’ve done this".


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