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Kate Middleton Misses Traditional Outing at St. Patrick's Day Parade as She Continues Surgery Recovery

The Princess of Wales was named the honorary Colonel of the Irish Guards in 2022, but her history with the holiday goes back much further

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Kate Middleton attends the St. Patrick

Chris Jackson/Getty

Kate Middleton attends the St. Patrick's Day parade with the Irish Guards in 2023

Kate Middleton missed one of her traditional holiday outings amid her recovery from abdominal surgery.

While the Princess of Wales, 42, continued her recovery out of the public eye (she's not expected to return to royal duties until after Easter), the Irish Guards held their traditional St. Patrick's Day parade. Princess Kate attended the celebrations last year for the first time since being named the honorary Colonel of the Irish Guards, but before that, she would often attend the event alongside her husband, Prince William, who held the position before her.

Despite her absence, the Irish Guards kept the Princess of Wales top of mind during the festivities. A source told PEOPLE ahead of the event that they were planning to give Kate three cheers at the end of their parade at Mons Barracks in Hampshire.

Princess Kate's traditional role of handing out shamrock sprigs for the guards to pin on their uniforms will be carried out this year by Lady Ghika, wife of the Regimental Lieutenant Colonel, Major General Sir Christopher Ghika. The Regimental Lieutenant Colonel, Major General Sir Christopher Ghika, will take the salute.

In addition to issuing the shamrocks, Kate usually marks the St. Patrick's Day parade by greeting Irish wolfhound Turlough Mor, who is known as Seamus, toasting with a pint of Guinness (or water during the years she was pregnant!) and as Colonel, receiving the royal salute.

Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images Prince William and Kate Middleton drink Guinness at St. Patrick's Day parade in 2023
Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images Prince William and Kate Middleton drink Guinness at St. Patrick's Day parade in 2023

Related: Shamrock Chic! See Kate Middleton's Best St. Patrick's Day Looks Through the Years

In a post shared on Instagram Sunday, William and Kate marked the annual March holiday.

"Happy St Patrick’s Day! Here’s a sneak peak of the @irishguards rehearsing for their annual parade. Sláinte to all those celebrating today! 🇮🇪," the duo captioned the post.

The Irish Guards will step into the spotlight again in June when they will be Trooping the Colour at King Charles' annual birthday parade. Princess Kate was listed on the official army website as leading the annual review of soldiers at Horse Guards Parade in London on June 8, the weekend before the parade, prompting excitement about her return to public duties following her surgery. However, Kate's office at Kensington Palace said they hadn't been consulted about her appearance and her name was quickly removed.

With Princess Kate recovering and King Charles, 75, undergoing cancer treatment, it is not confirmed yet which members of the royal family will be in attendance that day.

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Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images (2); Paul Vicente - WPA Pool/Getty Images Kate Middleton on St. Patrick's Day through the years
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images (2); Paul Vicente - WPA Pool/Getty Images Kate Middleton on St. Patrick's Day through the years

Related: Kate Middleton's Surgery Recovery and Photo Controversy: Everything to Know

The Princess of Wales has not made a public appearance since Christmas as she recovers from surgery that took place on Jan. 16. Some speculate Princess Kate will make her first outing since the procedure by joining the royals for their traditional Easter outing to church, which falls on March 31 this year.

Kensington Palace said in the initial statement about her surgery — and reiterated in a Feb. 29 statement — that Princess Kate "is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter," following medical guidance.

While the statement clearly states the Princess of Wales won't have public duties until April, Easter is technically a private family event rather than a duty, leaving the possibility to see Kate on the upcoming holiday open.

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