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Prince William presents troops with shamrocks as Kate remains at home

By Harry Yorke

The Duchess of Cambridge broke with 115 years of tradition yesterday by staying at home with her children, leaving her husband to hand out shamrocks to troops during a St Patrick’s Day parade.

Usually, a female member of the Royal Family presents the Irish Guards with their traditional honour, but Kate (34) was at home in Norfolk with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Instead, the Duke, who is Colonel of the regiment, led the parade at Hounslow Cavalry Barracks in west London.

Although the soldiers were disappointed that the Duchess was unable to attend, Company Sergeant Major Carl Laverty said that they were “conscious she has family commitments”, adding the “lads were ecstatic” to have their Colonel, dressed in an Irish Guards frock coat and wearing a ceremonial sword, there instead.

The Duke spoke with John Patrick Keneally, whose wife, Maryam, was wearing his father’s Victoria Cross medal.

“He talked to us about my father,” John said. “We talked about my father’s service in Tunisia during World War Two.”

William also spoke with Army cadets attending the parade, including 16-year-old Lance Sergeant Alex Hullme, of Crosby, Liverpool.

“He was very pleased to hear that I’ve signed up to join the Irish Guards,” Alex said.

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