A speech delivered by The Prince of Wales at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade


I may be stepping aside, but in Colonel Catherine you have a committed, focussed, and already incredibly loyal 11th Colonel.

Regimental Lieutenant Colonel, Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, Guardsmen, and families of the Irish Guards.

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.

My first experience with the Irish Guards came at Sandhurst in the formidable ‘presence’ of Colour Sergeant Parke – of course, you know him now as Major Parke; The living embodiment of what it means to be a fighting Irish Guardsman, and the reason I feared coming back for my second term!

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 front-line 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.

Your work in Africa alone has been inspirational to so many, and I am hugely grateful for all you have achieved in this vital area, but when you put this alongside your operational list, the tempo has been staggering. Operations Herrick, Tosca, Temperer, Trenton, Shader, Rescript, Interflex, with deployments to the Falklands, Thailand, and Belize to name but a few – a lot has been asked of you, but you’ve delivered in spades.

I would now like to speak directly to the families gathered here today. I hope you know how truly grateful I am to all of you too. On this, my 13th and final St Patrick’s Day as Colonel, not only am I saddened that I’ll likely fail once again to finish a pint of Guinness… but I am also sad that I won’t in future see more of you, the families, whose unwavering support enables these outstanding men and women to do what they do.

I may be stepping aside, but in Colonel Catherine you have a committed, focussed, 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.

Before I finish though, I would like to pay tribute to a great Irish Guardsman, who died last week. Major General Sir Sebastian Roberts – or ‘Colonel Sebastian’ as we all knew him – was my predecessor as Colonel. Loved by generations of Irish Guardsmen and many, many others, he was, quite simply, a phenomenon. I was proud to know him, and I extend mine and Colonel Catherine’s heartfelt condolences to Lady Roberts and his family, and to you – his other family: the Irish Guards.

Quis Separabit.

Good luck to you all, Godspeed, and thank you.

Related content

A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the Founders Forum 2016

I believe that, by your coming together creatively and openly to tackle bullying, you will be creating an enduring model for how the Internet should progress into the next...

16 June 2016

A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the Patron's Lunch on The Mall

We are here to celebrate The Queen as Patron. Her commitment to the more than 600 charities to which she lends her name and support is unwavering.

12 June 2016

The Duke of Cambridge's speech at The Royal Marsden Ralph Lauren Centre for Breast Cancer Research

Seeing the courage and spirit of the patients I met today, it would be hard not to feel positive about the work being done here, and the real difference it makes.

17 May 2016

A speech by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry at the launch of Heads Together

Let's all get our heads together and let's change the conversation, from one of silence and shame to one of optimism and support

16 May 2016

The Duke of Cambridge's speech at the Weston Library, Oxford

As the foundation stone above the entrance to the original Bodleian says: ‘quod feliciter vortat’: ‘may it go well'

11 May 2016

A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at Blavatnik School of Government

I wish the current students, faculty and staff of the School the very best as they work in this remarkable new building

11 May 2016
Press release 28 April 2016

The Duke of Cambridge launches Cyberbullying Taskforce

Read more
Press release 24 April 2016

Heads Together

Read more

A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the The Queen's Birthday Reception at the British High Commision, India

This is the first time Catherine and I have been to India and we have been incredibly impressed to see just how much this great country is on the move, and how India’s...

11 April 2016

A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the Arrival Reception in Mumbai, India

No-one can come here without being awed and amazed; no-one can come without a sense of excitement about all that India has achieved in the past and the extraordinary promise...

10 April 2016

A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the FA President's Lunch

We owe it to the history of the game to maintain the FA's global standing. To do so, we must seek to set a world standard in the way we conduct our business

06 April 2016

The role of the Royal Family

Members of the Royal Family work together to support The King in his official duties …
The King meets crowds


The King and The Prince of Wales

A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce declaration signing

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us here at Buckingham Palace for the signing of this declaration. Lord Hague, on behalf of everyone here, can I say a huge...

15 March 2016

The Duke and East Anglia Air Ambulance

Find out more about The Duke's role as an air ambulance pilot

Combatting the illegal wildlife trade

The Duke of Cambridge is committed to tackling the illegal wildlife trade

Prince George

Find out more about Prince George...
Prince George on his 10th birthday - photo credit Millie Pilkington

The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales

Find out more about the primary vehicle for Their Royal Highnesses' philanthropic work...

The Charities Forum

The Charities Forum is collection of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s patronages

A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

I hope that the Academy will nurture your talents and the future generations of expert diplomats our country will need long into the future.

16 February 2016

The Prince of Wales

Find out more about the life and work of The Prince of Wales....
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales
Press release 08 January 2016

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to visit Bhutan

Read more
Press release 18 December 2015

Prince George nursery announcement

Read more