Prince William's gone out on the lash with the lads for St Patrick's Day

Prince William was in high spirits as he joined the Irish Guards for a Guinness to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Accompanied by The Princess of Wales, he smiled and chatted to guards at Mons Barracks in Aldershot today while enjoying the popular Irish tipple.

The day, which included the traditional St Patrick’s Day Parade, also marked the end of William’s time as colonel of the regiment and the start of Kate’s tenure in the same position.

The prince said it had ‘been one of the greatest honours of his life’ to hold the title.

While Kate, fittingly dressed in an emerald green outfit, hailed the guards’ ‘boundless, irreverent, glorious sense of humour’.

She presented sprigs of shamrock to the officers and guardsmen as well as to the Irish wolfhound regimental Turlough Mor, known as Seamus.

The Irish Guards played a variety of tunes including music from Bill Whelan’s Riverdance, while rain poured down on the parade ground.

In a speech, William said: ‘Whilst I am extremely happy to be here celebrating St Patrick’s Day with you once again, I’m incredibly sad to be giving this speech, as it really does mean my time as your colonel has come to an end.

‘It has been one of the great honours of my life to hold that title; I’m proud of everything it stands for – just as I’m immensely proud of every single one of you.’

He added: ‘It’s also no secret that while at Sandhurst I had a potential officers visit to the Irish Guards, an experience that placed this battalion firmly at the top of my personal wish list.

‘Operational reasons alone prevented me serving my frontline years with The Micks.

‘I have, however, relished every opportunity to visit you – I just wish the opportunities had been far more frequent.

‘From exercises and range days here in the UK, to training overseas – such as Kenya in 2018 – I have such vivid memories of witnessing what you do so brilliantly in the field.’

Speaking about his wife, the prince said: ‘I may be stepping aside, but in Colonel Catherine you have a committed, focused and already incredibly loyal 11th Colonel.

‘As you serve together over the years ahead, know that I will continue to watch you, with huge pride in having been one of you.’

Speaking after William, Kate said she couldn’t be prouder to stand in front of the Irish Guards on her first day as colonel.

‘It really is a true honour to be your Colonel,’ she said. ‘I am here to listen to you, to support you, and to champion you in all you do – this is a responsibility I do not take lightly.

‘Last week, I took the opportunity to visit some of you on Salisbury Plain, to see your inspiring work for myself.

‘The day was bitterly cold, and while displaying your skills to yet another visitor was probably the last thing any of you wanted to do, all I saw was enthusiasm, pride and incredible dedication.

‘I was hugely impressed with your insistence that nothing is as bad as it seems, and – most of all – your boundless, irreverent, glorious sense of humour.

‘That’s what makes you who you are and what makes the Irish Guards unique.

‘I look forward to spending more time with you and your families, seeing your commitment to duty and service in all you do.

‘Before I close, however, I want to thank Colonel William. He has always talked about his fierce pride for this regiment. I know he will continue to support us all in the work we do.’

The parade ended with a royal salute and march-past, where the princess took the salute as the new Colonel.

Kate was then presented with flowers by Aoife Wigley, six, and her sister Alice, four.

The couple also met the Irish Guards Association, which is made up of past members of the Irish Guards.

While enjoying their Guinness at the end of the day, William and Kate chatted to the guards about army life and Saturday’s big rugby clash between Ireland and England.

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