Belfast Telegraph

Pinning our hopes on young Royals

By Gail Walker

It really is a new era for the Royals.

After his spectacular success in South America, Prince Harry turned up at Twickenham on Saturday as a face in the crowd.

And his sister-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, cut a dash at Aldershot when she presented shamrock to soldiers from the Irish Guards on St Patrick's Day.

It was all the more significant that Kate should take on this duty as it had been a favourite annual engagement of the Queen Mother.

Reinforcing the link, the Duchess also wore the same gold brooch the Queen Mother wore on this occasion each year.

It's another important gesture in what is turning into a series of symbolic exchanges between the monarchy and Ireland.

There was a time when such things were regarded as unwelcome throwbacks or simple frippery.

The Queen's visit to the Republic last year, however, cast such small tokens into a new and truer light.

It was no coincidence that Prince William wore the uniform of the Irish Guards at his wedding; indeed he later revealed the choice had been made for him by HM.

The ease with which the younger generation has picked up the significance of such things is heartening.

It doesn't go unnoticed.

A spray of shamrock pinned to the collar of an Irish wolfhound by a future Queen represents a nice blend of tradition and history with an attractive future.

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