Belfast Telegraph

Duchess Kate criticised for 'snub' to Irish Guards and 115 years of royal tradition on St Patrick's Day

By Lesley Houston

The Duchess of Cambridge is under fire for putting time with her children before a 115-year-old tradition of presenting St Patrick's Day shamrock to the Irish Guards today.

The Duchess has decided to snub the long-standing custom, leaving husband Prince William to stand in for her. The regiment is understood to be "deflated" by the news.

The couple have been criticised recently for being "part-time royals".

Sources claim that their aides and advisers are afraid to question the pair's decisions as regards engagements.

The annual tradition has been performed by a female royal since 1901, and Kate has done the honours the past four years.

Last year she presented the St Patrick's Day shamrock while eight months pregnant with Princess Charlotte.

This year, after a string of engagements in London, Kate was described as being "keen to get back to her children" at their Anmer Hall home in Norfolk.

The break with tradition has sparked a social media backlash against the previously popular Cambridges.

Posts on Twitter and Facebook were sarcastic about Kate's decision to put her children - two-year-old Prince George and 10-month-old Charlotte - ahead of the Irish Guards on their big day.

One person posted: "Well she has done it for the last four years - she probably needs a rest!'"

Another called the Duchess "bone idle", while a third poster said they were "disappointed".

"If the royals start breaking with good traditions, then I'm not sure what they're there for," they said.

The furore follows a series of incidents which have called the couple's actions into question, and the apparent reluctance of their new generation of aides to put their foot down.

Kate has an engagement scheduled in Norfolk tomorrow in her role as patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices to officially open a new shop for the charity.

A Kensington Palace spokesman gave assurances Kate had not given up the Irish Guards tradition for good.

"The Duchess has very much enjoyed the occasions when she has been able to attend, but the Duke is the Colonel of the regiment and is looking forward to presenting the Irish Guards with their shamrock," he said.

"The Duchess looks forward to marking St Patrick's Day with the Irish Guards many times in the future."

William is no stranger to criticism over his official duties, or the lack of them.

William's private secretary and aides are all, like him, in their 30s.

One friend of the royal family is reported to have said: "He has a good team around him, but the point is they all listen to William and rarely question him when, sometimes, William does need to be questioned."

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