King Charles’s special ‘protocol change’ for Kate Middleton at Trooping the Colour is so moving

King Charles could have reportedly made a change to the balcony appearance for the Princess of Wales in line with his 'preference'

A composite of King Charles wearing his Irish Guards uniform and Catherine, Princess of Wales in a white dress and hat on the day of Trooping the Colour 2024
(Image credit: Image 1: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images // Image 2:Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

King Charles reportedly made a special "protocol change" for the Princess of Wales at Trooping the Colour, according to his former royal butler.

Trooping the Colour is always a significant royal occasion, but this year it was even more so as it saw the first public appearance of the Princess of Wales in 2024. In March Kate shared a heartfelt message revealing that she was undergoing "preventative chemotherapy" and asking for "time, space and privacy". Ahead of Trooping the Colour a new picture of her taken by Matt Porteous was released and she revealed that she was "looking forward" to attending the parade. 

Fans were delighted to see Kate on the Buckingham Palace balcony and according to former royal butler Grant Harrold, the monarch could have made a special change for his daughter-in-law. Speaking to Spin Genie Grant expressed his belief that it was likely King Charles’s "preference" that ensured Kate was standing next to him on the balcony. 

Prince George of Wales, Prince William, Prince of Wales, Prince Louis of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and King Charles III on the balcony during Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2024

(Image credit: Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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The former royal butler alleged that traditionally it’s protocol for the Prince and Princess of Wales to stand together and King Charles and Queen Camilla to do so too. The couples did stand together this year too, but Kate was positioned next to King Charles at Trooping the Colour. This is a change from 2023 when it was Prince William, who is first in the royal line of succession, who stood next to his father.

"It is planned but it is also changing the protocol to show the King and Kate united with each other and going through similar battles, so I would say this is down to the King’s preference," Grant claimed. "The balcony is all orchestrated but I have a feeling the King said to Kate, ‘You stand next to me’."

A huge amount of consideration goes into royal events and occasions and so if King Charles did change protocol slightly so that he and Kate would be "united" on the balcony, this is incredibly heart-warming and meaningful.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte of Wales and King Charles III during Trooping the Colour on June 15, 2024

(Image credit: Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage via Getty)

In April King Charles resumed engagements after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. After the Princess of Wales made her own diagnosis public Buckingham Palace released a statement which described King Charles as being "so proud of Catherine for her courage". It went on to add that he is in the "closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law". 

King Charles and Kate are understood to have a close relationship and former BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond has suggested to OK! that they are perhaps confiding in each other.

"I noticed in the King’s statement of support after Kate's broadcast he said he was in the 'closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law'. I was struck by the fact that he didn’t say close, but closest," she said, before later adding, "I’m sure that both Charles and Kate have found it comforting to be able to discuss their emotions as well as the chemotherapy treatment and how it has made them feel."

In the message she shared ahead of Trooping the Colour Kate explained that she is "making good progress", but added that "as anyone going through chemotherapy will know, there are good days and bad days". 

She said that her treatment is "ongoing and will be for a few more months" and shared that she’s hoping to join a few public engagements during the summer. 

"I am learning how to be patient, especially with uncertainty. Taking each day as it comes, listening to my body, and allowing myself to take this much needed time to heal," she declared. "Thank you so much for your continued understanding, and to all of you who have so bravely shared your stories with me."

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!