Irish Guards to play part in ‘family affair’

TAKING part in ceremonial duties for the royal wedding will be a family affair for the Irish Guards, its members said yesterday.

The regiment, of which Prince William is Colonel, will perform key roles on the day, providing the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and the Tower of London.

In addition, four Irish Guards have been chosen by William and his bride-to-be Kate Middleton to act as path-liners, lining the entrance to Westminster Abbey for the couple.

Members of the regiment have just returned from a six-month tour of duty to Afghanistan — with some of those taking part in the wedding arriving in Britain on Thursday and yesterday.

Company Sergeant Major James McConnell, who will form part of the Queen’s Guard at St James’s Palace, said: “It’s a special day for the regiment. With Prince William being the Colonel, it’s like a member of the family getting married on the 29th.”

He added the brief time between returning from Afghanistan and preparing for the royal wedding had made it a “fast and furious” time for the soldiers.

One of the path-liners at the Abbey will be Captain Max Dooher, 28, from the west of Ireland, who trained at Sandhurst with William.

Capt Dooher, who returned from Helmand Province on April 1 and learned of his wedding day role while in Afghanistan, said: “It’s a fast turnaround, but it’s going to be good to be a part of the day.”

He said the set-up in Afghanistan, with “guys living in flea-ridden compounds with only enough water to shave once a week and no showers” was a world away from the pomp and ceremony they will be taking part in next week.

He said: “It’s nice to take part in a big state event, and it will be a special moment to look back on.

“I was in the same commission as William at Sandhurst. It’s lovely, the connection that he has become the Colonel of the regiment.

“Seeing them coming out of the church will be a highlight, the same as anyone getting married — it brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

A total of 45 members of the regiment will form the Queen’s Guard.

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