Princess Kate made her first public return at King Charles’ birthday parade

Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton photo

The Princess of Wales’ last-minute appearance at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in London was a “wonderful surprise,” after months out of the public eye as she battled cancer.

On King Charles III’s official birthday, all eyes were on Kate, the Princess of Wales.

Kate, 42, made her return to the public eye Saturday as part of the Trooping the Colour ceremony, her first official appearance since she revealed her cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

On a drizzling Saturday morning in London, she was seen smiling in a horse-drawn carriage with her three children as the procession made its way from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade. Prince Louis, 6, was captured waving to the crowds from the carriage window.

Katie Nicholl, an NBC News royal contributor, said Kate’s appearance was a “wonderful surprise” after months without a public appearance.

Kate was later seen on the balcony at Buckingham Palace with Prince William, Charles, and Queen Camilla.

The annual military ceremony celebrates the British monarch’s official birthday, with Charles also in attendance after his cancer diagnosis.

“Most of us are surprised that she is here today,” Nicholl said. “We know that as the King and the Princess of Wales have gone through this cancer journey together, they’ve very much been supporting each other behind the scenes. Well this is the ultimate show of support.”

As the ceremony began, a convoy of royal carriages left the palace with the King and Queen escorted by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, before Charles carried out the ceremonial review of the guardsmen and officers from his carriage.

Charles then received a royal salute from service members outside Horse Guards Parade as the British national anthem blared over speakers. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, were among the crowds gathered to watch.

The traditional show of military pomp and pageantry featured soldiers marching in scarlet coats and bearskin fur hats accompanied by music played by military bands.

Charles inspected the troops on horseback at his first official birthday parade last year, reviving a tradition that his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, gave up in 1986 when she was 60.

This year, William was on horseback, alongside his uncle Prince Edward, and aunt, Princess Anne.

Among the 242 horses that took part in the ceremony are Tennyson, Vanquish and Trojan, three of the five elite military horses that broke lose in April and galloped riderless through miles of downtown London. They have been nursed back to good health, while the other two, Quaker and Vida, are continuing their recovery.

With inspections complete, Charles and Camilla returned to Buckingham Palace amid lightning, thunder, and a summer rain that soaked the crowds.

They then gathered with their family on the balcony at the end of the event to watch a flyover by the Royal Air Force, which took place just as the inclement weather cleared.

In a statement on Friday, Kate shared an update on her cancer treatment, writing that she was “not out of the woods yet” and that she had “good days and bad days.” She said she was “making good progress,” but that her treatment would continue for a few more months.


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