Kate Middleton’s selfless sacrifice for Prince George and Charlotte defied years of tradition

Kate Middleton's selfless sacrifice attracted attention as she missed an important annual event weeks before a royal tour

Kate Middleton’s selfless sacrifice for Prince George and Princess Charlotte revealed. Seen here attending the Christmas Day service
(Image credit: Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

Kate Middleton’s selfless sacrifice for Prince George and Charlotte defied years of tradition and showcased her approach to balancing royal and family life. 

In the years since Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding in 2011 the couple have become masters at balancing life as future King and Queen Consort and proud parents-of-three. However, this balance isn’t always easy and in 2016 Kate Middleton’s selfless sacrifice for Prince George and Charlotte was a radical departure from years of tradition. 

The Princess of Wales recently attended the Irish Guards’ annual St Patrick’s Day parade where Kate Middleton’s St Patrick’s Day outfit with its turquoise tones wowed us. She’s previously handed out sprigs of shamrock alongside Prince William every year since he became Colonel of the Irish Guards in 2012 - except in 2016. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton at the St Patrick's Day parade in 2023, Prince William at the parade in 2016

(Image credit: Future//Image 1: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images//Image 2: Photo by Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Back then Prince William was still Colonel of the regiment - a prestigious role that Kate Middleton succeeded him in last December. He attended the St Patrick’s Day parade at Mons Barracks in Aldershot solo in 2016 and a Kensington Palace spokesperson officially confirmed that Kate wouldn’t be joining him.

As per E! News, they declared, “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."

Meanwhile, according to Express.co.uk, a Palace statement reportedly explained that the reason for this was down to the devoted mom wanting to spend quality time with Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Victoria Airport

(Image credit: Photo by Pool/Sam Hussein/WireImage via Getty)

“While the Duchess has accompanied the Duke every year since his appointment in 2012, and will do so again in future, this year she sadly could not make it because she is prioritizing time with her children before next month’s tour of India and Bhutan,” they apparently claimed. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales were set to embark upon a royal tour of India and Bhutan, meaning they’d be away from Prince George (who was not yet 3) and Princess Charlotte (who was not yet 1) for six days. Kate’s decision attracted criticism from some people at the time, with accusations that she’d snubbed the regiment as the handing out of shamrocks is a centuries-old tradition.

However, Kate Middleton’s selfless sacrifice showcased her devotion to her young children and the immense challenges involved in balancing such a public role with parenthood.

Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis (C), accompanied by their parents the Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, arrive for a settling in afternoon at Lambrook School

(Image credit: Photo by Jonathan Brady - Pool/Getty Images)

Although she “very much enjoyed” attending, here she put her children first for this single day and has attended the St Patrick’s Day parade again every year since, including in 2023. In 2020 the Princess of Wales got candid on Giovanna Fletcher’s Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast about the “guilt” she feels as a working mom.

"It's a constant challenge - you hear it time after time from moms, even moms who aren't necessarily working and aren't pulled in the directions of having to juggle work life and family life,” she explained. "[You're] always sort of questioning your own decisions and your own judgements and things like that, and I think that starts from the moment you have a baby."

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!