UK

Prince William presents soldiers with St Patrick's Day shamrocks

Prince William Image copyright EPA
Image caption Receiving a shamrock on St Patrick's Day is an Irish Guards tradition dating back to 1901

Prince William has led a St Patrick's Day parade in London involving more than 600 soldiers.

The Duke of Cambridge presented troops from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards with shamrocks when he visited the Cavalry Barracks in Hounslow.

The parade was the first time the full battalion has been able to celebrate St Patrick's Day in five years.

It was also the first time a male Royal Family member has presented the Irish Guards with the traditional shamrocks.

The Duchess of Cambridge broke with the 115-year tradition by staying at home with her children.

It was the first time she had missed the annual event since taking over the role from the Princess Royal in 2012.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Prince William also met regiment's mascot Domhnall
Image copyright EPA
Image caption The duke greeted 450 serving soldiers along with 150 association members
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Revellers have been celebrating St Patrick's Day around the world, including at Cheltenham Festival
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption And it was not just adults who were dressed up for the occasion at the festival

The Duke, who is Colonel of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, greeted 450 serving soldiers at the ceremony along with 150 association members and Army cadets from Northern Ireland.

He also present a sprig of shamrock to the regiment's mascot, a four-year-old Irish wolfhound named Domhnall, which is Gaelic for "world leader".

Formed in April 1900 by Queen Victoria to recognise the services of Irish soldiers during the Second Boer War in South Africa, the 1st Battalion Irish Guards served major roles in both world wars and has been awarded six Victoria Crosses over the last century.

Receiving shamrock on St Patrick's Day is a battalion tradition dating back to 1901, when Princess Alexandra became the first member of the Royal Family to attend the ceremony.

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