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Kate Middleton And Prince William Attend St Patrick's Day Military Parade

17/03/2013 13:16 GMT | Updated 17/03/2013 13:53 GMT

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge braved showers to attend a St Patrick's Day parade at a military barracks today.

Wearing the same green Emilia Wickstead dress coat she wore to the event last year, Kate smiled broadly as she greeted soldiers from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at Mons Barracks in Aldershot, Hampshire.

Under grey skies, the pregnant Duchess took her position next to the Duke on a podium which offered them cover from the rain.

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The royals looked on as the first bars of the National Anthem were played out.

William, who wore ceremonial dress, was attending the parade as Colonel of the Regiment.

He watched as the Duchess presented traditional sprigs of shamrock to the officers and guardsmen, including one to himself.

The presentation of shamrocks by a senior female member of the royal family is a century-old tradition which was started by Queen Alexandra, the wife of Edward VII, in 1901.

The role was famously carried out by the Queen Mother.

Kate, who wore a black hat with her hair up, finished off her outfit with black tights and heels.

The last sprig of shamrock was given to the regiment's new mascot, seven-month-old Irish wolfhound Domhnall, who was carrying out his first public engagement.

Wearing a smart scarlet cape that matched the tunics of the soldiers, he was led over to Kate by his handler, Drummer David Steed.

The Duchess smiled as she bent down to attach the foliage to his silver collar.

The royals looked on from the podium as about 200 soldiers paraded through the puddle-strewn square, bringing a splash of colour to the occasion in their full ceremonial uniform of scarlet tunics and bearskins.

They were led by the Band of the Irish Guards.

The soldiers who received the sprigs of shamrock wore them in the front of their caps, as did the Duke.

For the first time on his shoulder he wore an insignia aide to campe to the Queen, which was bestowed on him today.

The rain stopped as he and Kate chatted to soldiers in the square after the parade.

The Duchess was given a posy of flowers by five-year-old Maisie Purcell, daughter of Company Sergeant Major Andy Purcell.

As she bent down to talk to Maisie and her friend Chloe Rigby, three, the Duchess told them: "Very nice to meet you."

After being handed the bunch of white and yellow flowers, she added: "Very spring-like."

Afterwards, a bashful Maisie said: "She said they look pretty."

Her mother, Suzy Purcell, 32, said: "She just came over and asked if they'd seen the dog and if we were cold."

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