Will Kate upstage the King during his birthday event?

King presents colours ahead of birthday parade

Source: The Royal Family

In a letter to the Irish Guards, the Princess of Wales apologised for missing their Trooping the Colour rehearsal ahead of the official King’s birthday parade in London on Saturday (local time).

Honorary Colonel, Kate, 42, was due to take the salute, but after a cancer diagnosis in March, the future queen has been having preventative chemotherapy and keeping a low profile at home.

In the letter posted to social media by the Guards, she wrote of her “honour” at being their colonel, hinting there was a slight chance we could all see her “very soon”.

“Being your colonel remains a great honour, and I am very sorry that I’m unable to take the salute at this year’s Colonel’s Review,” she wrote in a letter signed “Colonel Catherine”.

“I do hope that I am able to represent you all once again very soon.”

Did this mean a possibility Kate might appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony alongside her husband William and children George, Charlotte and Louis – as well as the King and Queen – on June 15?

Kate confirmed on Friday (local time) that she will accompany her three children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte, in a carriage during Saturday’s Trooping the Colour, an annual military parade held in central London to mark the monarch’s official birthday.

She will also join King Charles, Queen Camilla and the other senior family members on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the high-profile pinnacle of the event.

GB News royal correspondent Cameron Walker earlier said any surprise appearance from Kate risked upstaging the King at his birthday parade.

“Kensington Palace has not ruled out a balcony appearance, but I think it’s incredibly unlikely,” he said.

“The reason being, it’s the King’s birthday parade and I think if she did appear on the balcony, it would upstage that event.

“Kensington Palace have always said that they will provide an update when there is one.

“The princess herself has asked for the space and the privacy to recover, and I think speculation kind of puts unnecessary pressure on her.”

Kate's letter to the Irish Guards

Source: Irish Guards

‘We know what the pictures will be the next day’

While the British press sought official word from the palace, royal watchers in the US and Canada were also discussing Kate’s next public appearance.

Patricia Keble told Canadian television there was speculation she would turn up.

“It’s a huge event … it’s a lot of time in the spotlight because she would be on the parade grounds … maybe she might appear on the balcony,” she told The Morning Show.

“[But] this is the King’s birthday, this is his official birthday … are you going to take [that] away for the King – because we know what the pictures are going to be the next day – so I’m not so sure.

“There are rumours floating around … can you imagine the reaction if you do see her on the balcony?

“People would go crazy.”

Over on US cable network, NewsNation, one source said: “All anyone cares about this year is if [Kate] is going to show.”

“It’s a conundrum the palace is trying to sort out as we speak … [she] doesn’t want the day to be all about her – it’s supposed to be celebrating the King.

“She (and the palace) also know that if she doesn’t show… It then becomes all about Kate and her cancer and could potentially be an even bigger story.”

It’s a damned if you do, and a damned if you don’t situation – especially as it’s the King’s day but all anyone cares about is Kate, Newsnation told its audience of 70 million.

On Buckingham Palace balcony during the 2023 Trooping the Colour. Photo: Getty

What is Trooping the Colour?

More than 1400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians come together every year in June in a display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare to mark the sovereign’s official birthday, according to the official website.

The streets are lined with crowds waving flags as the parade moves from Buckingham Palace and down The Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade, accompanied by members of the royal family on horseback and in carriages – the King will ride in a carriage this year.

The display closes with a Royal Air Force fly-past, watched by royals from the palace balcony.

What happens during Trooping the Colour?

Once the King arrives, he is greeted by a royal salute and then inspects the troops, who are trained and operational soldiers wearing ceremonial uniforms of red tunics and bearskin hats.

After the military bands have performed, the escorted regimental colour, or flag, is processed down the ranks of soldiers.

Which royals will be there?

The King, with the Queen beside him, will conduct his review from the carriage.

There will likely be Princess Anne, her husband Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, and maybe the Duke of Kent, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

People confirmed earlier in June that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were not invited this year or last year.

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