Sick King Will Skip Horseback Tradition at Trooping of the Colour as Kate Misses Rehearsal

Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty
Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty

King Charles III is set to be present next month for Trooping the Colour—a military parade marking his official birthday—but he won’t be on horseback for the occasion, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The 75-year-old monarch, who is currently being treated for an undisclosed form of cancer, is instead expected to inspect soldiers at the ceremony from a carriage alongside Queen Camilla. A military official will carry out the role supposed to be filled by Kate Middleton, who is undergoing preventative chemotherapy after she was also diagnosed with cancer, the BBC reports.

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Trooping the Colour traditionally involves the Royal Family assembling on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. In 2023, Charles rode on horseback for the ceremony—the first time a British sovereign had done so since 1986.

This year, on June 15, he’ll instead review troops from an Ascot landau carriage. The switch-up is understood to have been informed by doctors’ advice as he continues his cancer treatment, according to The Daily Mail.

It’s also not yet clear if Kate Middleton will attend the event in some capacity. At the Colonel’s Review—a traditional rehearsal for Trooping the Colour which is set to take place on June 8—her role of Inspecting Officer will be carried out by Lieutenant General James Bucknall, the former Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.

Speculation about whether or not the Princess of Wales would be involved in Trooping the Colour has been rife since March. At the time, Britain’s Ministry of Defence indicated that she would be overseeing the rehearsal ceremony in what appeared to be an announcement of her first appearance since she stepped back from public events after an abdominal surgery in January.

Sources in the princess’ office told The Daily Beast that Kensington Palace alone has the right to confirm her presence at events, and the defense ministry soon removed all references to Kate from its website. She revealed her cancer diagnosis in a video message released later that month.

Last week, a source said it was possible that Kate would remain out of public life for the remainder of 2024. A Kensington Palace spokesperson also told the BBC she is not expected to return to work “until it’s cleared by her medical team.”

Charles, meanwhile, has returned to some public duties following a three-month break following the announcement of his cancer diagnosis in February.

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