Prince William joins the Irish Guards for Guinness on St Patrick’s Day

Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales with a pint of Guinness as he meets with junior ranks of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards

Prince William chats with members of the Irish Guards over a pint of Guinness after today’s St Patrick’s Day parade (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Prince William was in high spirits as he joined the Irish Guards for a Guinness to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

In the company of the Princess of Wales, he smiled and chatted with the guards at Mons Barracks in Aldershot today while enjoying the popular Irish drink.

The day, which included the traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade, also marked the end of William’s time as colonel of the regiment and the beginning of Kate’s tenure in the same position.

The prince said it was “one of the greatest honors of his life” to hold the title.

While Kate, appropriately dressed in an emerald green outfit, hailed the guards’ “boundless, irreverent, delightful sense of humour”.

She presented shamrock branches to the officers and guardsmen, as well as the Irish Wolfhound Regiment Turlough Mor, known as Seamus.

The Irish Guards played a variety of tunes including music from Bill Whelan’s Riverdance while it rained on the parade ground.

Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales with a pint of Guinness as he meets with junior ranks of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards

The prince chatted about life in the army and tomorrow’s rugby match between Ireland and England while clutching his sword (Image via Reuters)

In a speech, William said: “Although I’m delighted to be here to celebrate the St Ende.

“It was one of the greatest honors of my life to hold this title; I’m proud of everything it stands for – just as I’m immensely proud of each and every one of you.”

He added: “It is also no secret that I had a potential officer visit with the Irish Guards at Sandhurst, an experience which has placed this battalion high on my personal wish list.

“Operational reasons alone prevented me from spending my frontline years with the Micks.

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales raise their Guinness to mark St Patrick's Day 2023

Kate opted for half a pint of Guinness (Image: via Reuters)

Prince William, Prince of Wales smiles upon her arrival at the St Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks

Outgoing Colonel William with his shamrock branch (Photo: Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“I have, however, enjoyed every opportunity to visit you – I only wish the opportunities had been far more frequent.

“From practices and range days here in the UK to training sessions overseas – like Kenya did in 2018 – I have such vivid memories of witnessing what you do so brilliantly on the field.”

Of his wife, the prince said, “I may step aside, but in Colonel Catherine you have a dedicated, focused, and already incredibly loyal 11th Colonel.

“As you serve together in the years to come, know that I will continue to watch you with great pride to have been one of you.”

Prince and Princess of Wales at the 2023 St Patrick's Day Parade

Kate dressed in a smart green outfit with matching green shoes (Image: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock)

Exclamations from the Irish Guards during a ceremony on St Patrick's Day 2023

The Irish Guards call out during a ceremony at today’s event (Picture Toby Melville/Reuters)

After William, Kate said she couldn’t be prouder to be standing in front of the Irish Guards on her first day as a Colonel.

“It’s really an honor to be your colonel,” she said. “I’m here to listen to you, to support you and to stand up for you in everything you do – it’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

“Last week I took the opportunity to visit some of you on Salisbury Plain to see your inspiring work for myself.

“The day was bitterly cold and while showing off your skills to another visitor was probably the last thing either of you wanted, all I saw was enthusiasm, pride and incredible dedication.

Catherine gives a shamrock branch to an Irish guard

Kate hands a sprig of shamrock to an Irish guard (Image: Karwai Tang)

Kate and William at the parade

Kate said she was looking forward to spending more time with the Irish Guards and their families as Colonel of the regiment

“I was very impressed by your insistence that nothing is as bad as it seems and – most of all – your boundless, irreverent, delightful sense of humour.

“It makes you who you are and it makes the Irish Guards unique.

“I look forward to spending more time with you and your families and seeing your commitment to duty and service in all you do.

“But before I close, I would like to thank Colonel William. He always spoke of his passionate pride in this regiment. I know he will continue to support us all in our work.”

The parade ended with a royal salute and parade where the Princess, as the new colonel, accepted the salute.

Kate was then presented with flowers by Aoife Wigley, six, and her sister Alice, four.

The couple also met the Irish Guards Association, made up of former members of the Irish Guards.

While enjoying their Guinness at the end of the day, William and Kate chatted with the guards about military life and Saturday’s big rugby clash between Ireland and England.

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Justin Scacco

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