The Princess of Wales has not been ruled out of making an appearance at Trooping the Colour – the King’s official birthday celebrations – in a few weeks, but it all hinges on how she is feeling amid her cancer treatment

It is the thrilling finale to a highlight in the calendar and used to see hordes of royals pack on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

But at Trooping the Colour this year, the palace balcony for the magnificent RAF flypast may look sparse in contrast. Following tradition from the last two years, it is believed that King Charles will only ask working royals to join him for the climax of his birthday celebrations.

It would mean no place for the likes of younger royals Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and of course, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who will no doubt remain at home in California. And amid the slimmed-down family appearance, it could be that the most popular member of the Firm also won’t be there.

Some of the royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony after Trooping the Colour 2023
Some of the royals on the Buckingham Palace balcony after Trooping the Colour 2023 
PA)The Princess of Wales, 42, is having preventative cancer treatment, and her appearance at Trooping has not been confirmed. However, she is understood to be considering making an appearance if she is feeling well enough. Kensington Palace confirmed the Princess would not be officially taking part in the final dress rehearsal for the King’s birthday celebrations on June 8, but did not rule out her attending the main event a week later.

Royal expert and historian Dr Tessa Dunlop believes Kate is “British royalty at its best” and her decision on whether she will attend will inevitably lead to ‘futile’ questions about Harry and Meghan as they are now “out of the picture”.

She told the Mirror: “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.

Harry and Meghan at Trooping the Colour in 2019
Harry and Meghan at Trooping the Colour in 2019 
Getty Images)
“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 added that this year’s Trooping the Colour will show how much has changed for the Royal Family – even in the space of just one year. She explained: “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).”