Kate Middleton Gives Monarchy ‘Best Day Since Coronation’: Royal Source
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Kate Middleton Gives Monarchy ‘Best Day Since Coronation’: Royal Source

LONDON—The royal family’s goal was clear: present the Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, to the world, crush the conspiracy theories, and reset the royal narrative ahead of the summer break.

Reading the euphoric coverage in British news websites Saturday after Trooping The Color had concluded, palace operatives are no doubt satisfied enough to declare the mission accomplished.

One friend of Kate’s told The Daily Beast: “Catherine has been absolutely amazing. Her statement was extraordinary, and her appearance today was graceful and elegant and has filled people with hope.”

Another royal source said: “She knocked it out of the park. She looked amazing and sent all the right messages. This has been the monarchy’s best day since the Coronation.”

The Telegraph said of the ceremony, “Tactile, together, and very human, this was a royal appearance like no other: the family reunited against the odds.”

The London Times said: “As moments in the royal history books go, it will stake its claim at the top of the pile,” adding how powerful it was to see Kate and King Charles—both undergoing cancer treatment—side by side on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Royal correspondent Roya Nikkhah wrote, “Little happens by accident when it comes to royal pictures and messaging. The sight of Charles shoulder to shoulder with the princess on the Buckingham Palace balcony spoke volumes about his pride in his beloved daughter-in-law.”

The Mail’s verdict was that the event was “a dazzling, dashing reminder of the skill, discipline, and loyalty of our Armed Forces.”

King Charles, Queen Camilla, William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, Lady Louise Windsor, appear at Buckingham Palace.

King Charles, Queen Camilla, William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, Lady Louise Windsor, appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Hollie Adams/Reuters

Britain’s politicians, facing a general election next month, were keen to wrap themselves in the royal flag.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak posted, “God Save The King,” while his likely successor as PM after next month’s election Sir Keir Starmer posted, “Congratulations to His Majesty The King. Thank you to all our dedicated service personnel for such a wonderful Trooping the Colour.”

Even the weather co-operated; the clouds parted and the sun shone brightly as the royal family assembled on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to receive the nation’s good wishes on the king’s official birthday.

It was impossible for optimists not to see the bright blue sky after a morning of ferocious rain as a metaphor; the royal family, battered by cancer in this year of extraordinary ill-fortune and bad luck, had in the end pulled through.

King Charles was alive, if not looking particularly well (even the determinedly monarchist Daily Telegraph had to concede he looked “a little drained”) shepherding his family to a brighter future.

But make no mistake, today was really about Kate, who, against all the odds, pulled off a glitter-canon of a comeback of such stunning, last minute narrative perfection that were it a storyline in a soap opera, it would risk being rejected as implausible.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, arrives to Horse Guards Parade for the King's Birthday Parade "Trooping the Colour" in London on June 15, 2024.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, arrives to Horse Guards Parade for the King’s Birthday Parade “Trooping the Colour” in London on June 15, 2024.

Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

Kate’s attendance had, reportedly, been the subject of top secret planning for several weeks, but was only finally confirmed at 6 p.m. last night after a week of furious speculation when Kate issued an extraordinary statement quite unlike any statement that any royal has ever issued, in which she shared her joy at being able to attend Trooping (and to start working from home) but also went into great detail about how having chemotherapy has made her feel; the exhaustion, the “bad days,” the “uncertainty.”.

But one phrase Kate used struck a decidedly cautious and sombre note: Kate said she was “not out of the woods yet.”

It was a frank admission of the ongoing seriousness of her condition. In briefings, the palace has emphasized to journalists over and over again that Kate’s attendance at Trooping the Color should not be confused with the assumption she is now on a glide path back to public life.

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales on the balcony during Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2024 in London, England.

Prince William, Prince of Wales and Catherine, Princess of Wales on the balcony during Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2024 in London, England.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

And herein lies the fly in the ointment. Having triumphantly proved that Kate is well enough to turn out for hours on end at a ceremonial event, it’s somewhat tricky for the palace to also say she isn’t, that she won’t, for example, attend the Garter Parade or Royal Ascot next week.

Cancer sufferers and their families, of course, will understand. This is the reality of cancer treatment; those “good days” Kate referred to in her statement usually come to patients near the end of each cycle of chemo.

But the genie is out of the bottle. Expectations to see Kate back in action will now, unavoidably, build.

An awful lot depends, therefore, on exactly what Kate meant by her careful and cautious phrasing when she said, in that unprecedented statement, “I am not out of the woods yet. I am learning how to be patient, especially with uncertainty.”