The Royal Week: Kate Offers a Health Update and Announces Plan to Appear at Trooping the Colour

Royal week

Catherine, Princess of Wales, during the 2023 Trooping the Colour ceremony. She announced in a social media post on Friday that she would appear at the 2024 ceremony with her family. Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Princess of Wales has once again seized back control of her own narrative. 

Kate gave an update on her health just one day ahead of Saturday’s Trooping the Colour, announcing on Instagram that she will attend the King’s official birthday celebrations with her family.

Kate’s message, given in her own voice and signed off with her now-customary “C,” ends the flurry of Will She/Won’t She speculation regarding her attendance at the military parade. 

Trooping the Colour is the soaring height of British pageantry, and the most senior royals either ride on horseback alongside the troops they command, or in open carriages along the route. This year, King Charles, who is also undergoing cancer treatment, has said that he will travel in a carriage – rather than on his horse Noble (a gift from the RCMP) – as a concession to the toll therapies have taken on him. 

Now, palace officials have confirmed that Kate will be riding in a state carriage with her children, and that she intends to appear on the balcony after the parade – a highly significant photo op and chance for the British people to see the Royal Family live and in person during the aerial flypast over Buckingham Palace. 

In recent years, PR optics and family politics have also been on display as the focus zeroed in on which senior royals and extended family members made the balcony cut; plus there’s the fun of who’s wearing what and all the cute antics of the mini royals. Recently, the youth contingent has been ably filled by the Wales children and, in particular, little Louis, who was famously photographed covering his ears and shouting at the airplanes while standing next to his great-grandmother in her Jubilee year.

Then-Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Louis of Cambridge, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince George of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge watch a flypast from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during Trooping the Colour on June 2, 2022. Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

 

But Kate’s update was so much more than just her RSVP to Trooping. She began in a grateful tone, thanking people for their messages of support over the last couple of months. 

“It really has made the world of difference to William and me and has helped us both through some of the harder times.”

Since the beginning of the princess’ health crisis, both Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace have maintained that Kate would follow the advice of her medical team as to any return to duties. This appears to be a special exception, as Kate says she is feeling well at the moment. 

“As anyone going through chemotherapy will know,” she wrote, “there are good days and bad days.” 

She shared that her treatment is ongoing, and will last a few more months. On days she feels well enough, she said, she concentrates on school life with her three children and “personal time on things that give me energy and positivity.”

The King’s birthday is one of those activities, it seems, adding she hopes to “join a few public engagements over the summer” but recognizes, “I am not out of the woods yet.”

Photo: theprinceandprincessofwales/X

 

The message is accompanied by a simple image of the princess leaning against a tree in jeans and a casual cream pinstripe blazer with a white T and sneakers, one of her favourite “off-duty” or sporty activity looks. It is not a close up, and affords her the opportunity to re-engage through an image that reinforces the thoughtfulness of her note.

This is a sign that the Palace has learned to get out in front of the news cycle. The speculation, which had notably picked up steam as the ceremonial day approached, will be sated by the health update, the photo and this bit of great news that Kate is feeling up to participating in this very public family tradition.

She ends her missive with a message of thanks to “all of you who have so bravely shared your stories with me.” 

The King and the Princess of Wales have both done a tremendous public service in raising awareness of cancer – opening up about their treatment and its physical and mental costs. Kate is one of the most glamorous women in the world, and the understanding that cancer does not discriminate when it comes to the young and beautiful is a powerful message. 

Serving as a listening post for others to share their own cancer journeys is also a powerful thing Kate has done – as is asking for time and space to recover.

In her request for privacy, Kate humanized the Royal Family at a time when scandals and drama have made the wider world forget that they are people, and a family, first, even as they carry the symbolic weight of the monarchy – a large and unwieldy and impersonal institution – on their shoulders.

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