Ok, another year, another St. Patrick’s Day for the Cambridges! First off, there was speculation from some, including myself, that this would be the Duchess’s last engagement before maternity leave, however Kensington Palace announced two new engagements for her on Wednesday and Thursday of next week. Either Kate is working closer to her due date than she has in the past, or this baby isn’t expected until close to the end of April (supporting recent guesses that she’s due right around St. George’s Day on the 23rd).
I wouldn’t go so far as to say this was a scandal, but it certainly caused a public outcry: On March 17, 2016 the Duchess of Cambridge did NOT hand out shamrocks to the 1st Battalion Irish Guards at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I hope you were sitting down for that. I should have warned you, I’m sorry.
Prior to last year, Kate had taken part in the event every St. Patrick’s Day since her marriage; thus, she made an appearance in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. It had been expected that she would continue the tradition annually, and it caused a bit of a stir when it was announced by Kensington Palace that William would be carrying out the engagement solo. At the time KP released the following statement:
“The Duchess has very much enjoyed the occasions when she has been able to attend, but the Duke is the Colonel of the Regiment and is looking forward to presenting the Irish Guards with their Shamrock. The Duchess has returned home to spend time with her children, but looks forward to marking St Patrick’s Day with the Irish Guards many times in the future.”
Now, in a vacuum that’s not really ground-breaking, but as with almost anything royal, context is key.