IRISH CONNECTIONS: PRINCE William, though a serving search-and-rescue helicopter pilot with the Royal Air Force in Wales, wore the dress uniform of the Irish Guards regiment for his wedding yesterday to Kate Middleton.
The decision apparently caused some surprise within the RAF, but the prince’s role as colonel of the Guards is the highest position that he holds in the British armed forces.
The Guards’ red uniform, which features the Harp of Ireland, was accompanied by the regiment’s forage cap, which carries the eight-pointed insignia of the Star of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, featuring the regiment’s motto of Quis Separabit? (Who Shall Separate Us).
Wishing the couple every happiness, the Guards’ adjutant, Lt Col Brian O’Gorman said the regiment had been “surprised but delighted and very proud that Prince William has decided to wear the ‘Mick’ uniform.”
The Irish Guards – a third of whose serving members are from Northern Ireland and the Republic – is one of only five regiments in the British army charged with securing royal residences and was heavily involved in yesterday’s ceremony.
The Guards, who alternate between barracks in Windsor and Aldershot, recently returned from a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, where they suffered several losses at the hands of the Taliban.
Prince William’s brother and best man, Prince Harry, a newly promoted captain in the Household Cavalry’s Blues and Royals and a trained Apache helicopter pilot with the Army Air Corps, wore his Afghanistan campaign medal, amongst other decorations.
The Irish theme was seen elsewhere during the wedding, since the lace used in Kate Middleton’s dress was made using the Carrickmacross technique by the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace.
Irish milliner Philip Treacy supplied hats to dozens of the 1,900 guests in Westminster, including Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara Philips, who wore a dress by Paul Costelloe.
Irish Times, Wednesday, May 4, 2011