Duchess Kate hands out shamrocks in St. Pat's Day Parade

11:52 AM, Mar 17, 2013   |    comments
(Photo: Adrian Dennis, AFP/Getty Images)
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Maria Puente, USA TODAY

Last year, strong men fainted when Duchess Kate arrived for the 1st Battalion Irish Guards' annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Nothing so dramatic today when the Duchess of Cambridge, clad in green, of course, handed out the traditional shamrock sprigs to the officers and guardsmen at their barracks in Aldershot in Hampshire, about 40 miles southwest of London.

Five months pregnant, she's finally looking like she's with child. She appeared to be wearing the same dark green coat that she wore last year for the same ceremony. But she had a different hat, a dark tam o'shanter-style beret, and her hair was pulled up in an elaborately coiled bun.

And once again, she bent to pin shamrocks to Domhnall, the tall Irish wolfhound who is the regimental mascot.

Prince WIlliam was there, too; he's an honorary colonel in the Irish Guards and it was their striking uniform he wore to his April 2011 wedding.

Some 200 soldiers marched into Parade Square at the base, resplendent in their ceremonial scarlet tunics and bearskins.

Last year was the first time the duchess carried out shamrock duty after joining the royal family, following in the century-old ritual started by Queen Alexandra, queen consort to William's ancestor, King Edward VII, in 1901.

As she was arriving at the barracks last year, three soldiers fainted, apparently under the weight of their bearskins, according to reports at the time. Helped to their feet, they staggered off the parade square, but reporters on the scene said the duchess appeared not to notice.

This year went more smoothly: She received the customary royal salute, and then presented shamrocks to the officers who in turn issued them to the ranks. Except at one point her high heel got stuck in a grate and she had to be helped by her laughing husband, the Daily Mail reported under the joking headline, "Calamity Kate!"

The couple were to meet with members of the regiment, pose for photographs, visit the guardsmens' cookhouse and lunch privately in the Officers' Mess.

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