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The BBC's Peter Hunt reports
"Her memories are shared by some of the Irish Guard veterans"
 real 28k

Sunday, 19 March, 2000, 16:14 GMT
Queen Mother greets Irish Guards
giving shamrocks
Centenary year for Queen Mother and regiment
The Queen Mother has given out the traditional gift of shamrocks at the centenary ceremony of the Irish Guards.

It is the first time that the event has taken place in public.

Dressed in a sky blue coat decorated with a large spray of shamrock, the Queen Mother smiled and waved as the band of the Irish Guards paraded down the Mall followed by young recruits and a large group of the regiment's veterans.

wave to crowd
The Queen Mother greeted crowds with a smile
Her Majesty, who will be 100 in August, has been somewhat out of the public view so far this year, after fears for her health.

But aided by just one walking stick, she looked very sprightly as she stepped up to the dais in the Mall and stood while the parade went by in the Spring sunshine.

The several hundred tourists who had gathered gave a loud cheer and were rewarded with a wave.

Traditional gift

The ceremony then moved on to the gardens of Lancaster House for the laying of a wreath and the presentation of the shamrocks.

The band of the Irish Guards greeted her with the National Anthem as the Queen Mother stepped into the garden.

She then handed out baskets of shamrock to officers from the regiment, the first battalion of which is stationed in Germany.

As the regiment filed out of Lancaster House gardens, the Queen Mother who was obviously enjoying the tunes of the band, tapped her hand in time to the music.

It is 100 years since Queen Victoria decreed that Irish Regiments wear a sprig of shamrock in the head dress on St Patrick's day on 17 March.

She made the decree in honour of Irish soldiers who fought bravely during the Boer war.

Queen Alexandra, the consort of King Edward VII, began the custom of giving out the shamrocks in 1901.

The Queen Mother took over the ceremonial duty in 1965 after the death of Princess Mary, the then Princess Royal.

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See also:

16 Mar 00 | Northern Ireland
Shamrock takes flight for big day
14 Mar 98 | stpatrick
The day the world turns green
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