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William and Kate honor Irish Guards with medals

By the CNN Wire Staff
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Saturday in Windsor, on their way to a medal parade.
Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Saturday in Windsor, on their way to a medal parade.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Prince William speaks of his "pride and humility" as he meets troops
  • He was appointed colonel of the Irish Guards in February
  • This was the first time he and Catherine had been to visit the regiment since then
  • Soldiers from the Irish Guards performed ceremonial duties at the couple's wedding

London (CNN) -- Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, presented medals Saturday to soldiers of the Irish Guards who have served in Afghanistan.

The ceremony in the town of Windsor was the first time Prince William had visited the regiment since he was appointed colonel of the Irish Guards in February.

Six soldiers from the regiment performed ceremonial duties at the couple's wedding in April.

About 400 Irish Guards received operational medals during the ceremony, British media reported, with the duke and duchess pausing to speak to each soldier as they presented them.

Afterwards, Prince William spoke of his "pride and humility" as he paid tribute to the soldiers' service.

"I am proud to be your colonel. I am humbled by the thought of the sacrifices that you and your families have made and the losses that you have suffered -- all in the service of our country," he said.

William and Kate honor Irish Guards
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"Along with thousands of others back home, I followed your tour in Afghanistan with a mounting sense of awe."

The duke and duchess also presented the families of three fallen servicemen with the Elizabeth Cross, a medal granted to the relatives of military personnel killed on operations.

The couple spoke to the families privately before the medal parade.

It was the first time the duchess had carried out a military role as a member of the royal family.

The 1st Battalion Irish Guards returned in April from a six-month tour in Afghanistan. Their responsibilities included helping mentor the Afghan National Army.

The regiment, which is based at the Victoria Barracks in Windsor, was formed in 1900 by order of Queen Victoria.

 
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