Kate in command: Duchess of Cambridge does dress uniform as she carries out first military role as a royal

Saturday, June 25, 2011

By Daily Mail Reporter

Eyes front: Members of the Irish Guards are presented with their medals by the Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Cambridge will take on her first military role as a royal today as she hands out operational medals to members of the Irish Guards.

Alongside the Duke of Cambridge, who is Colonel of the Irish Guards, Kate will present medals to soldiers who have recently returned from serving in Afghanistan.

A royal aide said the Duchess was very pleased to be undertaking the role for a regiment 'so close to her husband's heart'.

The 1st Battalion Irish Guards returned in April from a six-month tour in Afghanistan where they were deployed to 22 different locations in Helmand Province, tasked with developing the Afghan Army.

Six soldiers returned home two weeks before the royal couple's wedding day and had ceremonial duties to perform in London on the day.

Before the medal parade, at Victoria Barracks in Windsor, William and Kate will meet privately with the families of three fallen servicemen and William will present them with posthumous Elizabeth Cross medals.

Good giggle: The Duchess of Cambridge jokes with soldiers as she presents the 1st Battalion Irish Guards with their medals

The Duke of Cambridge spoke of his ‘pride and humility’ today as he presented the medals.

He emphasised his respect by saying he was ‘proud’ to be the soldiers’ colonel and was ‘humbled’ by the thought of their sacrifices.

The BBC report William said: ‘I can only imagine what the campaign medals you receive today must mean to you.

All smiles: The Duchess of Cambridge kept a wide smile etched on her face as she spoke to soldiers and received flowers from a young girl

‘Along with thousands of others back home, I followed your tour in Afghanistan with a mounting sense of awe.

‘Over the years and decades ahead when you look at this medal, I'm sure it will bring back so many conflicting memories.

‘Sadness for those who did not return, and thoughts of their families who received their Elizabeth Crosses today.’

Royal duty: Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge arrive for a medal ceremony at Victoria Barracks, in Windsor, this morning

Ceremony: The campaign medals will be given to Prince William's regiment, the Irish Guards, which completed a six-month tour in Afghanistan

It is the first time that the couple have visited the regiment since William became Colonel of the Irish Guards in February.

He also wore the regiment's striking red uniform on his wedding day.

William is the Irish Guards' first royal colonel and its Colonel-in-Chief is the Queen.

Elegant: It was Kate's first military engagement as a royal and comes after new husband William wore the uniform of the Irish Guards at their wedding

The regiment was formed on April 1, 1900, by order of Queen Victoria is response to the courageous actions of Irish regiments in the Second Boer War.

The unit was heavily involved in the ceremonial duties but its servicemen are also fighting soldiers.


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