PRINCESS Catherine arrives with Princess Charlotte and Prince George for “Trooping the Colour” ceremony.—AFP
PRINCESS Catherine arrives with Princess Charlotte and Prince George for “Trooping the Colour” ceremony.—AFP

LONDON: Catherine, Princess of Wales, on Saturday tentatively returned to UK public life for the first time since being diagnosed with cancer, attending a military parade in London to mark King Charles III’s official birthday.

Kate, as she is widely known, travelled in a state carriage alongside her three children at the outset of the annual event before watching the ceremonial proceedings from a viewing point.

The 42-year-old future queen then appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony, to cheers from the crowds below who had braved torrential rain to turn out for the pageantry.

It comes nearly three months after the princess revealed she was receiving chemotherapy treatment. She had not been seen at a public engagement since a Christmas Day service last year.

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 added.

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

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 centre. Earlier this month, he attended commemoration events in northern France for the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

However, unlike previous years when he inspected troops on horseback at Trooping the Colour, Charles participated this year from a carriage, in full military regalia alongside Queen Camilla. His elder son and heir William, 41, rode on horseback, also in military uniform. Kate, wearing a white dress and hat, was seen arriving by car at the palace with William and their children — Prince George, aged 10, Princess Charlotte, nine, and six-year-old Prince Louis — ahead of the parade.

Proceedings then culminated several hours later in a fly-past by the Royal Air Force, featuring various aircraft including its aerobatic Red Arrows display team trailing red, white and blue vapours.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2024

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