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Royal Historian Explains How Trooping the Colour Might Look Different This Year (Exclusive)

The 2024 Trooping the Colour is looking a little different this year due to King Charles III’s ongoing cancer battle.

“Certainly it’s still going ahead, according to the Ministry of Defense. However, it is a much more royally centered event compared to say a state visit, which is royal, political and diplomatic,” royal historian Gareth Russell exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, June 10. “So I think they will again perhaps scale back where the politicians are sitting or even if they’re invited.”

The Trooping the Colour is an annual event celebrating the monarch’s birthday with a grand military parade. The royal family also gathers on the Buckingham Palace balcony to watch the Royal Air Force fly-over. This year’s event is scheduled to take place on June 15.

Russell explained that the ceremony has been a “tradition since the time of George II in the early 18th century” and he doesn’t see the royals parting ways with it.

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However, small changes are being made to accommodate Charles, 75, amid his treatment for an unspecified type of cancer. Last year for his first Trooping as monarch, Charles revived the old practice of riding horseback alongside the military during the parade from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards. For this year’s spectacle, Charles will have to ride in a carriage, following suit of his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Why the Trooping of the Colour Might Look Different This Year
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

“I don’t think we’ll see any major changes to the Trooping the Colour. We already know at this stage that the king had hoped to ride on horseback as was tradition,” Russell said on Monday. “But his doctors have been quite clear giving his ongoing cancer treatment, it’d be better if he was in a carriage.”

In addition to Charles being front and center at the event, some members of the royal family also have specific duties to carry out. Last year, Charles appointed several of his family members to ceremonial military roles, including wife Queen Camilla, son Prince William and daughter-in-law Princess Kate Middleton.

Why the Trooping of the Colour Might Look Different This Year
Prince William and Prince Edward, Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Last month, the palace confirmed Kate, 42, would not be attending the Trooping the Colour rehearsal this year amid her ongoing cancer battle. (Kate announced in March that she was diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer following her abdominal surgery earlier this year and is undergoing preventative treatment.)

While Kate did not attend practice, it has been up in the air about whether or not she would be present for the event at all.

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“I think the royal household have been very clear that they will keep that private until she is ready to do that herself. And I think that’s probably the best way forward,” Russell told Us about his thoughts on Kate possibly attending the balcony appearance. “I think maybe they’re trying to draw a line that with this Princess of Wales, there will be less of a sense of public ownership of her in her private [life].”

While Russell is unsure of Kate’s plans, he believes that she will return to her royal duties when “she feels ready to rather than because she feels pressured to.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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