Prince William was without his wife Kate Middleton on Thursday as he travelled to the London borough of Hounslow to take part in the traditional presenting of the St. Patrick's Day shamrocks to the Irish Guards. For the past four years the Duchess of Cambridge has carried out the role.
As the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William has the role of Colonel of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards. As such, he presented sprigs to 450 officers and guardsmen, who marched onto the parade square at their new base Cavalry Barracks.
Impressive in his military uniform, the future King was pictured smiling and chatting to members of the regiment as he passed down the line.
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Prince William prepares to present sprigs of shamrock to the Irish Guards Photo: Getty Images
William looked particularly pleased to see Domhnall, an Irish wolfhound and the Irish Guards' official mascot which he has encountered on previous visits. He bent down to hand the wolfhound – who has the rank of Guardsman and can apparently be promoted for good conduct – a sprig of shamrock.
Following the march, William joined officers and sergeants for photographs and later for a private luncheon in the mess hall.
Cheese! The Duke took this group photo with the Guard Photo: Getty Images
Members of the regiment may have been disappointed not to see Kate at this year's Parade. Prince George and Princess Charlotte's mom has played a starring role in the parade since becoming a member of the royal family.
Since 2012, Kate has presented the sprigs of shamrocks – a tradition started in 1901 by Queen Alexandra. Female royals normally take up the honor and in the past Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne have done the job. Last year Kate was eight months pregnant with Charlotte when she attended the parade.
Last year Kate presented sprigs to members of the Irish Guard as Prince William looked on Photo: Getty Images
A Kensington Palace spokesperson said that Kate, 34, would attend the parade in future years, but it wouldn't become an annual occurrence.
"The Duchess has very much enjoyed the occasions when she has been able to attend, but the Duke is the Colonel of the Regiment and is looking forward to presenting the Irish Guards with their Shamrock," the spokesperson said.
"She won't do it every year but the Duchess looks forward to marking St Patrick's Day with the Irish Guards many times in the future."
Kate, who attended the Commonwealth service earlier this week, will return to royal duties on Friday. The Duchess, who is Royal Patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH), will officially open a new EACH charity shop in Holt, Norfolk in England.