William hails wedding duty soldiers
The Duke of Cambridge has paid tribute to the "extraordinary" soldiers who, within days of returning from fighting in Afghanistan, took part in his marriage celebrations.
Six soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, swapped their combat uniforms for ceremonial dress to help out with the royal wedding - with a handful returning to the UK just seven days earlier.
Wearing their famous bearskin hats and red tunics, the soldiers formed a Queen's Guard when William tied the knot with Kate Middleton on April 29.
William, who became Colonel of the Irish Guards in February, wore their striking red ceremonial uniform on his big day.
The Duke and Duchess presented operational medals to those who returned from a six-month tour of Afghanistan in April. It was the first time Kate had taken on a military role as a royal.
William said: "As Catherine and I rode through the centre gate of Buckingham Palace on our wedding day, there you were, formed up as the Queen's Guard with your commanding officer at your head. If ever there was an illustration of why the Foot Guards - and the Micks in particular - are special, that was it. To exchange combat kit for ceremonial uniform in the space of two weeks is nothing short of remarkable."
Before the medal parade, at Victoria Barracks in Windsor, William and Kate met privately with the families of three fallen servicemen and the Duke presented them posthumous Elizabeth Cross medals.
Guardsman Christopher Davies, Major Matthew Collins and Lance Sergeant Mark Burgan were all killed in action in Afghanistan.
Guardsman Davies, 22, from St Helens, died from a gunshot wound on November 17 last year which he sustained during an ambush by insurgents in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province. His brother John Davies serves in the same battalion.
Maj Collins and LSgt Burgan were killed in an explosion just six days before they were due to return home from their tour. Maj Collins, 38, from Blackwell in Somerset and LSgt Burgan, 28, from Liverpool, died on March 23 when their vehicle was caught in a blast from an IED (improvised explosive device).