William presents new colours to Irish Guards ahead of Platinum Jubilee

The Duke of Cambridge is the Colonel of the Irish Guards.

The 1st battalion Irish Guards line up on parade in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle where their new colours were presented to the regiment by the Duke of Cambridge (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)
The 1st battalion Irish Guards line up on parade in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle where their new colours were presented to the regiment by the Duke of Cambridge (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)

The Duke of Cambridge has presented new colours to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations next month.

The battalion will take part in the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony which marks the monarch’s birthday, with the June 2 event forming part of the jubilee bank holiday weekend.

The sun shone down on William, the 450 guardsmen and their families as the new colours were presented in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle on Tuesday afternoon.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is the Colonel of the Irish Guards, was received on parade with a royal salute before he inspected the front line of the regiment.

Pipers of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards march into the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle where new regimental colours were presented by the Duke of Cambridge (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)

William wore his Irish Guards uniform as he presented the two new colours, one of which – the New Queen’s Colour – will be trooped by the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards next month.

The Irish Guards have been the most operationally active unit in the British Army over recent years.

Their new colours presentation had been delayed by more than two years, partly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and has coincided with the jubilee year.

Addressing the regiment during the ceremony, William said: “In this historic Platinum Jubilee year, we rightly celebrate your many achievements.

“I know that Her Majesty is looking forward to seeing these new colours trooped during her official birthday parade next month.

“I also know they will inspire you and your successors to emulate the deeds of the Irish Guardsmen who have gone before as you continue to serve our nation, in conflict or in peace, at home and abroad.

“The thoughts and prayers of my own family, which enjoys a close and proud connection with the Irish Guards, will be with you as you set about this most important task.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace – former Officer of the Scots Guards – was also in attendance.

The new regimental colours of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards are paraded in the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)

William laughed and joked with the officers and warrant officers of the regiment as they sat for an official photograph after the ceremony.

The regiment’s mascot, Irish wolfhound Turlough Mor – otherwise known as Seamus – also took part in the ceremony at Windsor Castle.

His handler, Drummer Adam Walsh, said: “Getting a new colour, it happens only once or twice maybe in a guardsman’s career, so it’s very special for me, especially with it being Seamus’s first time as well.

“The two of us were very proud to be standing there while we were getting our new colour from the colonel of the regiment.”

He added that he was very pleased with Seamus’s behaviour, saying: “He was so very still, there wasn’t much moaning from him.”

Lieutenant Colonel James Aldridge MBE, commanding officer of the regiment, said “it’s really fantastic” to receive new colours just ahead of Trooping the Colour.

He added that rehearsals were well under way for the ceremony, during which he will be parading on horseback.

Lt Col Aldridge said: “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it all works OK on the day.

A warrant officer of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards makes sure the line of guardsmen is straight as the regiment lines up on parade in the Quadrangle (Richard Pohle/The Times/PA)

“Literally the day we got back from Easter leave we’ve been practising almost every day.

“It starts off with low-level rehearsals, then we stepped it up to be on Horse Guards and last week we were doing formal parades wearing tunics to do the Queen’s Guard Mount from Horse Guards, and so that’s been a fairly steady progression.”

More than 1,500 soldiers and 350 horses from the Household Division will parade in front of 7,000 ticketed spectators for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Birthday Parade on June 2.

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