Kate Middleton's potential absence at Trooping the Colour sparks questions about Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Kate with Princess Anne, Prince William and her children on the Buckingham Palace balcony after Trooping the Colour 2023
-Credit: (Image: PA)

The breath-taking finale of Trooping the Colour, a notable event in the Royal calendar, could display a starkly different scene on the Buckingham Palace balcony this year as King Charles may only invite active royals to accompany him for his birthday's grand conclusion.

This tradition from the last couple of years suggests that younger royals such as Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and certainly Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will likely stay back in California, might not feature.

Given this slimming down of family members present, it might also exclude the presence of the very popular Princess of Wales, age 42, who is currently undergoing preventative cancer treatment. Whether she will grace Trooping with her attendance remains uncertain, although it has been communicated that she might consider attending if her health allows.

On June 8, Kensington Palace verified that while the Princess would not be participating in the final rehearsal for the King's birthday festivities, her attendance at the main event a week later isn't out of the question.

Historian and Royal expert Dr Tessa Dunlop argues that Kate epitomises "British royalty at its best" and speculation over whether or not she will attend Trooping the Colour will inevitably lead to pointless queries regarding Harry and Meghan, who are evidently "out of the picture".

Harry and Meghan at Trooping the Colour in 2019
Harry and Meghan at Trooping the Colour in 2019 -Credit:Getty Images

Speaking to the Mirror, she said: "Whether [Kate] will make a balcony appearance on the big day on June 15 remains the great unknown. My hunch is she will give us a wave, but if she doesn't (entirely her prerogative) questions about Harry and Meghan are bound to surface.

"These are futile, even in 2022 the Sussexes were out of the picture, glimpsed briefly at a window and not invited on the balcony", reports the Mirror.

"This year that balcony cast will have even slimmer pickings if the Princess of Wales stays away. In which case might it be time to review the role of non-working royals? All those cousins Eugenie, Beatrice, and Zara who have long behaved with hallmark loyalty would surely relish the prospect of standing shoulder to shoulder with their King. After all, isn't that what families are for?"

Meanwhile, Tessa noted that this year's Trooping the Colour will demonstrate how much has changed for the Royal Family - even within just one year. She elaborated: "2024 is not royal service as usual. And nor should it be.

"Our most glamorous royal player, like her father-in-law and King, has cancer and health must come first. But let's not pretend Kate won't be missed at Trooping the Colour.

"The King's official birthday parade ties us back through time to centuries of pomp and ceremony. No one does that better than the Princess of Wales who in the last decade has owned the stage as Britain's most eye-catching stateswoman.

"The last Trooping the Colour I attended was that bittersweet summer of 2022, the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Too frail for Horse Guards Parade, Her Majesty popped out on the balcony.

"It was the climax to a great day which saw Charles, then Prince of Wales, on horseback and a Disney moment when, in a pop of colour, Princess Catherine fluttered by in a horse-drawn carriage. The crowd gasped. This was British royalty at its best.

"Much can change in two short years. The new King will be present for his birthday parade, but won't review the troops on horseback. There are limits when undergoing cancer treatment at age 75.

"Likewise for the Princess of Wales, things look very different in 2024. She has climbed the ranks, and with her new honorary role as Colonel of the Irish Guards ordinarily, she would have taken the salute. But these are not ordinary times. Kate won't attend the Colonel's Review (Trooping's rehearsal on 8 June)."

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