Princess Kate makes first public appearance since cancer diagnosis

Catherine, Princess of Wales, made her first public appearance since being diagnosed with cancer as she attended Trooping the Colour, a military parade that marks Britain’s King Charles III’s official birthday, on Saturday.

Kate, wearing a white dress and hat, rode in a carriage alongside her three children at the outset of the annual celebration before disembarking to watch proceedings from a viewing point. Prince William rode in the parade on horseback. The family is also set to make a balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace as they watch a fly-by from the Royal Air Force. 

The apperance comes nearly three months after England’s future queen revealed she was receiving chemotherapy treatment. The 42-year-old princess had not been seen at a public engagement since a Christmas Day service last year.

Spectators on The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace to witness the yearly ceremonial event welcomed Kate’s tentative return to public appearances.

Trooping The Colour 2024
Catherine, Princess of Wales and Prince Louis of Wales during Trooping the Colour on June 15, 2024 in London, England.

Neil Mockford/GC Images

“I was so pleased to hear the news last night,” said Angela Perry, a teacher. “She’s our future queen. She’s so important.” 

Royal officials will be keen to manage expectations about Kate’s gradual return to the public eye, and have maintained that her appearances will depend on her treatment and recovery

In a Friday evening statement Kate said she was “making good progress” with her treatment, which is set to last for several more months, but was “not out of the woods yet.” 

“I’m looking forward to attending the King’s Birthday Parade this weekend with my family and hope to join a few public engagements over the summer,” the princess said. 

Kate’s announcement that she had cancer came just weeks after it was disclosed that her father-in-law, King Charles III, had also been diagnosed with the condition. Neither has revealed what type of cancer they have.

Trooping The Colour 2024
Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales and Princess Charlotte of Wales during Trooping the Colour on June 15, 2024 in London, England. 

Samir Hussein/WireImage

British head of state Charles, 75, was given the green light to resume public duties in April, after doctors said they were “very encouraged” by his progress.

His first engagement was meeting staff and patients at a London cancer treatment center. Earlier this month, he attended commemoration events in northern France for the 80th anniversary of D-Day. During the Trooping the Color, Charles participated from a carriage rather than on horseback, as he has done in previous years. 

Trooping the Colour marks the British sovereign’s official birthday and is a minutely choreographed military tradition dating back more than two centuries. It starts at Buckingham Palace and moves down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, where Charles will receive a royal salute before inspecting soldiers.

Charles was actually born in November but the second birthday tradition dates back to King George II in 1748, who wanted to have a celebration in better weather as his own birthday was in October.

Trooping The Colour 2024
King Charles III and Queen Camilla during Trooping the Colour on June 15, 2024 in London, England. 

Neil Mockford/GC Images

The ceremony has its origins in the preparations for war, where all regimental flags — or colours — were shown to the soldiers so that they would recognise them in the confusion of battle.

This year’s event will include three of five military horses that bolted through the streets of central London in April after being spooked by the noise of building construction.

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