Why Prince William and Kate Middleton won't mark St Patrick's Day this year

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will miss the Irish Guards' St Patrick's Day Parade

by Jenni McKnight

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will not mark St Patrick's Day publicly with a military engagement, as they have done in previous years. Prince William and Kate traditionally attend a parade on the Sunday before 17 March and hand out shamrocks to army personnel, but HELLO! understands that the 1st Battalion Irish Guards are currently deployed in Iraq and South Sudan, so there was no plan to actually hold the event this year. William is Colonel of the Irish Guards, and the parade is an opportunity for all Irish Guards, serving, retired, or aspirational, to come together in celebration and honour their regimental and cultural traditions.

Prince William and Kate Middleton at the St Patrick's Day Parade in 2019

Usually, William and Kate take part in proceedings and watch 350 soldiers participate in the parade – led by their mascot, the Irish Wolfhound Domhnall, and the Band of the Irish Guards play traditional Irish airs – with William taking the salute. Following this, Kate then hands out shamrocks to officers and warrant officers. This is a tradition that was started back in 1901 by Queen Alexandra, the wife of Edward VII. After the parade, which concludes with a march-past where the Duke took the salute, William and Kate then go on to enjoy a lunch with the officers and typically toast the day with some Guinness.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge often sip on some Guinness at the parade 

Kate often treats royal fans to a fashion delight by dressing in green. Each year, the Duchess also wears a rather special accessory - the Cartier shamrock brooch which is historically loaned to royal family members for engagements with the Guards. Previously it has been worn by the Queen Mother and Princess Anne. This is an engagement that William and Kate have been doing for the past few years, although in 2016, Kate didn’t make the outing for the first time since becoming a member of the royal family, instead choosing to spend time with her young family.

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