2:50pm Saturday 17th March 2012
© Press Association 2014
The Duchess of Cambridge looked at ease as she carried out her first solo military engagement presenting sprigs of shamrock to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at their St Patrick's Day Parade.
Kate visited the battalion's home base in Aldershot, Hampshire, to continue the Royal tradition which dates back more than 100 years.
The 30-year-old Duchess wore a green Emilia Wickstead dress coat bought especially for the occasion, with a brown Lock & Co hat, brown suede shoes and a gold shamrock brooch, which has been handed down through the Royal family and was once worn by the Queen Mother.
Kate was greeted by Commanding Officer Major General William Cubbitt before making her way to the parade ground where 450 soldiers, in full ceremonial uniform of scarlet tunics and bearskins, were waiting for her.
Shortly before the Duchess arrived two soldiers had to be escorted from the parade ground when they appeared to faint.
The military band played the first few bars of God Save The Queen as Kate readied herself to present the shamrocks to the 40 Officers and Warrant Officers. Those officers then issued shamrocks along the ranks as the band played Irish folk song Carrickfergus.
A spokesman for the Duchess said the origin of the Royal gift of Shamrock dates back to the Regiment's first St Patrick's Day in 1901, when Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, requested the shamrock be passed among the men on parade.
Kate also presented a sprig of shamrock to six-year-old Irish Wolfhound Conmeal, the regimental mascot.
Drummer Oliver Vaughey, 22, who has been a dog handler for two-and-a-half years, said: "He was presented with a shamrock by the Duchess of Cambridge. People saw him shake his collar, probably as a thank you. He has been our mascot for four years and always marches in front of the regiment."
The Duchess smiled as she was presented with a posy by five-year-old Isabella Stevenson, the daughter of the Regimental Sergeant Major. Kate also spent time speaking to members of the Regiment Association and the Mini Micks cadets on the parade ground before being photographed with 100 Sergeants and then with 40 Officers.
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