Royal wedding: Irish theme for William and Kate’s special day
Maghera soldier to play pipes as Prince wears Guards' tunic
Today's Royal wedding will have a distinctly Irish feel. Prince William will be married in red — wearing the famous tunic of an Irish Guards officer rather than his RAF uniform.
He holds the honorary rank of Colonel of the Irish Guards and will honour the regiment by walking down the aisle with his bride in the dashing scarlet uniform.
He will also be wearing his Garter sash and star, Royal Air Force ‘wings’ and Golden Jubilee medal.
The decision is unexpected as the Prince is a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF working as a search and rescue helicopter pilot, and could have worn the uniform of the Air Force. The last major Royal wedding to feature a groom marrying in red was Captain Mark Phillips, at the time an officer with the 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards who married the Princess Royal in 1973.
The Irish Guards — one of only five regiments charged with securing Royal residences — will be heavily involved in today’s ceremony.
Their soldiers will be running the Queen’s Guard within the palace and will be part of the mounted guard prior to Catherine leaving Buckingham Palace.
Sergeant Glen Stevenson, who is from Northern Ireland and recently returned from Afghanistan, said it was an “unbelievable honour” for the Guards to be involved in the pageantry of the occasion.
“We have inspected the kit numerous times to make sure everything is 100% and the way we need it to be so we stand out on Buckingham Palace forecourt when the service is going on,” he added. Meanwhile, David Rodgers from Maghera has been hand-picked to play his bagpipes at the Royal event. The soldier served with the Irish Guards in Bosnia and Kosovo and spent six months in Iraq in 2010.
The Colour Sergeant will play to hundreds of guests and the Prince and his new bride as they make their way to the reception following the service at Westminster Abbey. David had to submit a list of music to be approved by Prince William.
William will travel to Westminster Abbey with his brother and best man wearing an Irish Guards mounted officer's uniform in guard of honour order and with a forage cap.
The Prince will wear a gold and crimson sash, and gold sword slings — both worn in the presence of a member of the Royal family — but he will not carry a sword.
The tunic, in Guards' red, features the regiment's distinctive arrangement of buttons in groups of four.
They feature the Harp of Ireland surmounted by the Crown Imperial and the arrangement of buttons on the uniform denotes the Irish Guards' position in the Order of Battle as the fourth regiment out of the five Foot Guards regiments — Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh.
The insignia of the Irish Guards on the forage cap is the eight-pointed Star of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, and features the Regiment's motto Quis Separabit? — ‘Who shall separate us?’
The uniform was fitted by Kashket and Partners — military and civilian tailors who hold a royal warrant from the Queen.
The Irish Guards are based in Victoria Barracks, Windsor. The battalion is made up of five companies with a variety of supporting arms and is currently on operational deployment in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The Irish Guards recruit in Northern Ireland and across the rest of of the UK. The regiment was formed on April 1, 1900 by order of Queen Victoria to commemorate the Irish people who fought in the Boer War for the British Empire.