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Irish Guards cheer for absent Princess of Wales at St Patrick’s Day parade

The Irish Guards gave three cheers for their absent colonel, the Princess of Wales, during a St Patrick’s Day parade at Mons Barracks in Hampshire.

On Sunday, 250 Irish Guardsmen marched onto the Parade Square at the Aldershot barracks led by their mascot, a three-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Turlough Mor, also known as Seamus.

Elsewhere, crowds celebrated St Patrick’s Day with parades in Dublin, Belfast, London and Birmingham.

Kate, who has been colonel of the regiment for a year after officially taking over from her husband, the Prince of Wales, is still recovering from abdominal surgery in January and has not resumed her public duties.

William and Kate have attended several past parades together and she was pictured in the rain last year presenting mascot Seamus with the traditional sprig of shamrock before the couple enjoyed a glass of Guinness with the troops.

The Prince and Princess of Wales enjoy a glass of Guinness during a visit to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards for the St Patrick’s Day parade in 2023
The Prince and Princess of Wales enjoy a glass of Guinness during a visit to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards for the St Patrick’s Day parade in 2023 (PA)

The British Army in London posted on X, formerly Twitter: “In keeping with tradition wherever they are in the world the @irish_guards give a rousing three cheers for the Colonel of the Regiment HRH the Princess of Wales at their St Patrick’s Day Parade in Aldershot.”

They removed their bearskin headdresses before giving three cheers of “hip hip hooray”.

It was the first time in nearly a year that a full contingent of Irish Guardsmen had come together for a parade, with the last being the coronation of the King in May 2023, according to the Army.

Irish Wolfhound jumping up on handler
Mascot Seamus stood nose-to-nose with his handler, Drummer Ashley Dean (Yui Mok/PA)

Commanding Officer James Aldridge said: “St Patrick’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen the friendships that are so fundamental to our regimental ethos and identity.

“With our busy and diverse operational schedules, it is the most prominent occasion for the regimental family to come together, and we are really looking forward to welcoming Micks of all ranks, from across the Army, past and present, and their families.

“We will raise a glass to those unable to attend this year.”

St Patrick’s Day Parade Birmingham
Crowds at the St Patrick’s Day parade in Birmingham (Jacob King/PA)

In London, more than 50,000 people were expected to join the annual procession of Irish marching bands, dance troupes and pageantry through the capital.

The parade started in Hyde Park Corner at noon, with a route through Piccadilly, St James’s Street, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street and Whitehall, ending with live performances at Trafalgar Square.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, parade attendees wore shamrock-shaped sunglasses, Irish rugby jerseys and leprechaun hats.

Late Late Show TV presenter Patrick Kielty, the grand marshal of the national parade, described Ireland’s national day as “the biggest party in the world”.