The Irish Guards have been signed off by Major General Chris Ghika CBE as ready for state ceremonial duties and have marched out of Wellington Barracks to assume the responsibility of Queen's Guard for the first time in 3 years. These are the first steps towards Trooping the Colour in front of Her Majesty The Queen during the Platinum Jubilee in June this year.
On a crisp Monday morning, Guardsmen from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards marched out of Wellington Barrack’s West gates for the first time in three years to resume State Ceremonial Public Duties as the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace and St James’ Palace. In their Atholl grey greatcoats and bearskins you could have mistaken them for any of the Foot Guards, but upon closer inspection their distinctive blue plume could be spotted alongside their rather more obvious Irish Wolfhound mascot, ‘Turlough Mór’, leading the New Guard onto the Buckingham Palace forecourt.
For their first Changing of the Guard ceremony since the beginning of 2019 the Irish Guards were handed over the responsibility to guard Her Majesty The Queen from 5 Regiment Royal Artillery, who have been supporting the Household Division as a Public Duties Reinforcement Company since early February 2022. Musical accompaniment was provided by the excellent, as always, Band of the Grenadier Guards and the Drums and Pipes of the Irish Guards in their striking green uniforms and saffron kilts.
It is always a tremendous honour to return to State Ceremonial and Public Duties but never more so than ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen in 2022. Every Irish Guardsman is rightfully very proud to be partaking in the pageantry that will go into marking this unprecedented occasion. Captain Thomas Orchard,
1 Irish Guards Training Officer
(Queen's Guard Inspecting Officer)
The Irish Guards have not conducted Queen’s Guard as part of State Ceremonial Public Duties for such a long time due to the normal Household Division operational cycle and have been conducting training exercises and operational tours, exemplifying the dual role nature of the Foot Guards of both ceremonial duties and light role infantry.
Recently, they’ve deployed on operations to Iraq and South Sudan as well as joint exercises with NATO allies in the United States, a striking difference from when they will be Trooping the Colour for Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this June.
Just a week previously the Irish Guards were inspected by Major General commanding the Household Division on a very different morning. As the wind and rain swept the parade square of Mons Barracks in Aldershot, the Battalion stood ready in their scarlet tunics for Major General Ghika CBE to cast his thorough and meticulous eyes over their uniform and bearing.
For many of the young guardsmen on parade this will have been their first experience of Ceremonial Duties and nerves will have been tense as the Major General conducted his inspection as poor show and turnout can affect their positions in upcoming parades. But, as always, the Guard's attention to detail saw the Battalion signed off and ready for Ceremonial Duties, and Trooping the Colour, later this year.
The Irish Guards were formed in 1900 by order of Her Majesty Queen Victoria in response to the numerous acts of bravery and gallantry shown by Irish soldiers during the Second Boer War. Originally recruits were drawn just from those of Irish descent across the British Army but was soon opened up to all those who wished to join from across Britain and Ireland. In their 122 years of history, the Irish Guards have demonstrated the continuation of their gallant spirit, gaining six Victoria Crosses during the First and Second World Wars as well as serving in a number of other conflicts across the globe, including operational deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan in more recent years.
Led by ‘Turlough Mór’, their Regimental Mascot, 1st Battalion Irish Guards will Troop their Colour in front of Her Majesty The Queen on Thursday 2nd June 2022. Taking part will be up to 1450 soldiers of the Household Division and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, along with up to 400 musicians from the Massed Bands whilst 200 soldiers from the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards will line The Mall.