Kate Middleton dons St Patrick's Day shamrock in one of the last public appearances before royal baby arrival
Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, carries out St Patrick's Day tradition with the Duke of Cambridge at Mons Barracks in Aldershot
Kate Middleton has helped soldiers from the Irish Guards celebrate St Patrick's Day by presenting sprigs of shamrocks to them at their barracks in Aldershot.
Her husband Prince William is Colonel of the Regiment, and memorably wore his Irish Guards uniform when the couple married at Westminster Abbey in 2011.
Ever since their marriage the couple have upheld the 114-year-old royal tradition of presenting shamrocks to the officers and guardsmen of the regiment at their St Patrick's Day Parade.
The Duchess wore a brown Catherine Walker coat and Lock & Co hat and a gold shamrock brooch given to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother by the Irish Guards. The Duke wore an Irish Guards frock coat and ceremonial sword.
Two hundred soldiers from 1st Bn Irish Guards marched onto the Parade Square at their base, Mons Barracks, for the presentation of the shamrocks. The Duchess presented baskets of shamrocks to the battalion’s warrant officers who, in turn, issued the sprigs out along the ranks.
The Duke and Duchess are also due to meet members of the regiment before sitting for officers' and sergeants' mess photographs.
In a marquee afterwards, the longest-serving guardsman in the battalion will propose a toast to the Duke and Duchess.
The tradition of presenting shamrocks was inaugurated by Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII, in 1901, the first year of his reign.
The parade this year was much smaller than past years as the battalion currently has troops deployed around the world. special packages of the fresh plant were flown out to those abroad, including the Falkland Islands and Oman.
The Irish Guards were formed on 1st April 1900 on the orders of Queen Victoria in recognition of the many courageous acts carried out by Irish soldiers during the Second Boer War.
Their regimental motto, ‘Quis Separabit’ translates into ‘Who shall separate us?’ taken from the Order of St Patrick, an order of chivalry founded by King George III. Their cap badge, referred to as the Cap Star, takes the form of the five pointed star of the Order of St Patrick.
The Duchess, who is eight months pregnant, is only expected to carry out one or two more public engagments before she gives birth in April.
She will visit a children's centre in London on Wednesday and may carry out a further engagement later in the month.
Her workload suggests the due date for the baby is not until late April.