(CBS) - Prince William and Kate stepped out Saturday to honor serviceman and women on Britain's third Armed Forces Day.
The couple, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, presented operational medals to the Irish Guards, including Elizabeth Crosses to the families of three servicemen who were killed during a six-month Afghanistan tour.
The ceremony marked William's first engagement as Colonel-in-Chief of the Irish Guards, his first honorary Army appointment which he received in February. It was also the first military role Middleton took on as a royal.
"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," William said in a speech to the Irish Guards in Windsor, England, the BBC reports.
"Along with thousands of others back home, I followed your tour in Afghanistan with a mounting sense of awe."
"I can only imagine what the campaign medals you receive today must mean to you. Over the years and decades ahead when you look at this medal, I'm sure it will bring back so many conflicting memories," he said.
Middleton, dressed in a navy double-breasted coat, reportedly by Alexander McQueen, with a matching fascinator and a gold shamrock pin on her lapel, said she was very pleased to take part in the ceremony for a regiment "so close to her husband's heart," a royal aid told the BBC.
On Thursday, the royal couple will embark on their 11-day North American tour, which will take them across Canada and finish in Los Angeles.