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William and Kate to take part in unusual historic tradition: Details

The royal couple are heading to Wales

kate middleton william laughing

The Prince and Princess of Wales will head to the country of their namesake this week in celebration of St David's Day.

The royal couple are scheduled to attend the Welsh Guard's annual parade on 1 March, when they will take part in a long-standing royal tradition.

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William is the unit's regimental colonel and, as part of the ceremony, will present leeks to the soldiers and friends of the Welsh units to mark the day - a tradition dating back to 1916 by the Welsh Guards on the Somme.

It is said that the emblem dates back to the 6th century when St David ordered his Welsh soldiers to wear leeks in their helmets in the battle against the Saxons to distinguish themselves from the enemy.

queen hands out leeks© Photo: Getty Images

The vegetable is also referenced in Shakespeare's play Henry V, which was written in the 16th century during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, with a reference to the custom of Welsh soldiers wearing a leek as an "ancient tradition", through his character Fluellen.

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As such, each year on St David's Day, the leek is worn in the cap badges of every soldier in every Welsh regiment.

welsh guards leeks beret© Photo: Getty Images

And that's not all! The Royal Welsh guard have a very specific tradition to mark St David's Day – eating raw leeks.

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The famous ceremony often sees the youngest member of each company devour an entire raw leek in front of the whole regiment after toasting to the saint.

queen leeks closeup© Photo: Getty Images

Of course, Wales is very dear to William and Kate's hearts. The couple spent the early years of their marriage in Anglesey with the Prince later stating: "This island has been our first home together, and it will always be an immensely special place for us both."

However, Kate found her loyalties tested at the weekend when England took on Wales in the Six Nations.

prince william kate wales© Photo: Getty Images

As patron of the Welsh rugby union, William was there to cheer on Wales while his wife, patron of the Rugby Football Union, had her support firmly behind England.

In the end, it was rugby fan Kate who emerged victorious, with England beating their rivals in Cardiff, 20-10.

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