The year 2022 ended on a very happy note for The Princess of Wales, Catherine. Ahead of Catherine’s 41st birthday, King Charles III bestowed a much-deserved and much-anticipated title on The new Princess of Wales – She became the Colonel of Irish Guards.
Catherine took over the role from her husband William, The Prince of Wales, who has been the Colonel of the Irish Guards since 2011.
The Irish Guards have a long-standing relationship with The Princess due to her husband’s role with them. William also chose to wear the Irish Guard’s uniform on his wedding day in April 2011.
The Irish Guards – known affectionately throughout the Army as ‘the Micks’ – is an Irish regiment that was formed on 1 April 1900 by Queen Victoria in recognition of the many acts of courage and bravery performed by Irish regiments during the Second Boer War. Since then, the regiment has continued to prove its mettle in numerous major conflicts. St Patrick’s Day is the traditional celebration of the Irish Guards.
The Princess of Wales has attended the St. Patrick’s day parade regularly every year since becoming a member of the British Royal Family and has presented the members of the regiment with fresh shamrock. Shamrock presentation parades trace their origins to the turn of the 20th century, on 28th February 1900 Queen Victoria instructed all ranks of her Irish regiments to wear a sprig of shamrock in their headdress to “commemorate the gallantry” of her Irish soldiers.
“HM the Queen is pleased to order that in future on Saint Patrick’s Day all ranks in Her Majesty’s Irish regiments shall wear as a distinction a sprig of shamrock in their head-dress to commemorate the gallantry of Her Irish soldiers during the recent battles in South Africa.”
Usually, the Colonel of the Irish Guards rides on the horse during the Trooping the Colour parade – The British Monarch’s annual birthday celebration. But it was reported a long-time ago that Catherine is allergic to horses so we might never see her riding the horse alongside her husband. She will continue riding in the carriage with The Queen.
The Princess of Wales have a very personal connection with the British Armed forces. Francis Martineau Lupton, The Duchess’s great-great-grandfather, had five children. His three sons Francis, Maurice and Lionel were all killed in action while serving during the First World War. The two youngest brothers, Captain Maurice Lupton and Lieutenant Lionel M Lupton went to France within 3 days of each other in 1915. The eldest Lupton brother, Major Francis A Lupton fought with the 8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment in 1917. Sadly, each of the brothers was killed in action over a period of three years: Maurice in 1915, Lionel in 1916 and Francis in 1917. Their sister Olive Christiana Middleton, nee Lupton, who worked as a nurse in the Voluntary Aid Detachment, is the Princess of Wales’s great-grandmother. She married Lieutenant Richard Noel Middleton, who also corresponded with the family during the war. Olive and Noel Middleton were parents of Peter Middleton, Catherine’s grandfather and father of Michael Middleton (Catherine’s father).
Her grandfather Peter Middleton was the Royal Air Force pilot and had co-piloted with William’s late Grandfather Prince Philip. Catherine’s paternal grand-mother Valerie Middleton née Glassborow was the decoder at the Government Code and Cypher School in Bletchley Park during WWII.
In June 2022 Kensington Palace shared that The Princess of Wales have completed a training period with the Armed forces. Sharing the details on Social media, Catherine wrote, “Today on Armed Forces Day, William and I would like to pay tribute to the brave men and women, past and present, serving in all of our armed forces, at sea, on land, and in the air, here in the UK and around the world. Thank you for all your and your family’s sacrifices to keep us safe.
Last year, I was honored to spend time with the British Army to see how they train serving personnel and new recruits. It was wonderful to see first-hand the many important and varied roles the military plays day in, day out to protect us all, and I look forward to discovering more about the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in due course.”