Prince William rules out being by Kate Middleton’s side for her comeback

We’ve all heard of the gender pay gap but have you heard of the royal horse gap?

The royal family, even since before William of Normandy thought he might add “the Conqueror” to his title, have been dead keen on all things equine. (Looking they are not exactly original thinkers.) And throughout these same centuries they have also been equally as keen on the military; on gathering up the armed forces for routs and invading and occasionally going off to bits of France for a sort of rampage called a chevauchée. Hence, Trooping the Colour, the sovereign’s official birthday celebration, which combines the military and horses for a couple of hours of grand parading while stiff Union Jacks flutter in the background.

Prince William will NOT be by Kate Middleton’s side when she makes her first public appearance in months this weekend. Picture: YouTube


Prince William will NOT be by Kate Middleton’s side when she makes her first public appearance in months this weekend. Picture: YouTube
But! This year’s Trooping is set to be unlike any before with the news breaking early on Saturday morning, AEST, that Kate, the Princess of Wales is set to attend – her first public appearance in nearly six months and since revealing she has cancer.

There are momentous, immediately iconic outings in royal history and in the next 24 hours we will add to that list with Kate’s Grand Return. However, at this massive juncture in the princess’ public life and royal career, her husband of 14 years Prince William will be nowhere to be seen.

He will not be by her side riding in a carriage (along with their three young children) down the Mall but will be, you guessed it, perched atop a horse and elsewhere. I present to you not only the royal horse gap but the Wales gap too.

Both William and Kate are royal colonels (the Welsh and Irish Guards respectively) and thus are entitled to actually ride, mounted, in Trooping, however come 11am on Saturday in London (8pm AEST) when Kate and the Wales kids appear from Buckingham Palace it will be in a – sans William.

William has been by Kate’s side for months as she battles cancer, but she’s making her reimergance into the public eye on her own. Photo: Isabel INFANTES / AFP.


William has been by Kate’s side for months as she battles cancer, but she’s making her reimergance into the public eye on her own. Photo: Isabel INFANTES / AFP.
In fact, the very first glimpse we will get of the princess – the first moment she will be scrutinised and watched and photographed and globally obsessed over since revealing she has cancer – the prince will be elsewhere entirely.

Kate is coming back and that first image will be of her without her husband. You see, aside from the late Queen and Princess Anne, only male royal colonels have ever mounted steeds for the event. (Diana, Princess of Wales and Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh were and are royal colonels and yet have never ridden in the event to name a few.)

It will only come later in the day, when the Waleses will join the King and Queen Camilla on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the RAF fly-past that we will see the prince and princess back together and standing side-by-side.

While this William and Kate Trooping separation is no surprise, still it will hardly help things in a year when frenzied, credibility-free theories about their marriage have proliferated like some antibiotic-resistant strain of bacteria.

It was only three months ago that the entire internet lost its collective mind over the exact whereabouts of Kate with such crackpot notions about what was supposedly going on circulating that they defied even basic logic.

The Palace released the first new picture of Kate in months this week, ahead of her appearance. Picture: Kensington Palace.
The Palace released the first new picture of Kate in months this week, ahead of her appearance. Picture: Kensington Palace.
Still, as idiotic as the Kategate lunacy might have been, this year has put the spotlight on the personal lives of the Prince and Princess of Wales to an extent and to an extreme unlike anything we have seen before.

The placement of Kate in a carriage for Trooping and William in the saddle is entirely expected and as normal as things can get for a family whose job it is to rule and to pretend to enjoy the caber toss at the Highland Games. But again, this will not exactly drive home the image of them as one lovely jubbly happy family. (Even though, let me really double underline and stress this with all the vehemence of three coffees under my belt, they actually are.)

The danger here is that Kate returning to official duties, albeit for the day, while William is not in the shot, could just become even more kindling for the tinfoil-hat wearing madness that swirls about in the bowels of X and TikTok.

Still, I think what needs to happen immediately is simple: Let us rally, let us make posters and let us start campaigning now for Kate, one day, to actually ride in Trooping. Down with the royal horse gap I say, down!

Daniela Elser is a writer, editor and a royal commentator with more than 15 years’ experience working with a number of Australia’s leading media titles.

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