Prince William steps out, amid latest Kate update

Prince William and other royals at Buckingham Palace

Source: Instagram/Kensington Palace

Prince William has stepped out at a royal family function with some of his cousins – but without wife Kate, amid fresh speculation her return to public life may still be some time away.

A beaming Prince of Wales led the royals – including his cousins Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie and Zara Tindall – at a rainy Buckingham Palace garden party on Tuesday.

“A pleasure meeting so many wonderful people from across the UK at today’s garden party,” Kensington Palace wrote on Instagram afterwards.

But the Princess of Wales was again absent, as she continues her treatment for cancer. Kate has been out of the limelight for most of this year, after having urgent abdominal surgery in January.

Despite that, it emerged earlier this week that she had been briefed during her treatment and recuperation on a major report by the Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood.

The princess’s business taskforce found that Britain could reap £45.5 billion ($87 billion) in economic benefits if businesses prioritised early childhood education.

Kate was said to be “excited” by the findings. And the news from Kensington Palace that she had been “kept fully up to date throughout the process” of producing the report sparked whispers that her return after her cancer treatment might finally be imminent.

However, the palace was quick to quash that, saying the update “should not be seen as the Princess of Wales returning to work”.

She would do so only once doctors gave the “green light”, a source said.

“Early childhood will continue to be central to her public work,” a Kensington Palace spokesman said.

The statement suggests nothing has changed since Kate’s video plea in March, in which she revealed her cancer diagnosis and asked for privacy for her family as she was treated.

It also appears there are still no firm plans for her to resume royal life, despite a busy month looming for the royal family.

Prince William is expected to attend the June 7 wedding of his friend, the Duke of Westminster – without Kate.

On June 8, William and other senior royals, including the King, will mark D-Day anniversary celebrations in France and Britain.

They will be followed on June 15 by the Trooping the Colour – the official parade for the monarch’s birthday.

The princess’s attendance has not been confirmed for any of the events.

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