King Charles made a very telling gesture for "beloved" daughter-in-law Kate Middleton

The Princess of Wales attends Trooping the Colour with King Charles and the royal family
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Princess of Wales made a triumphant return to public life last weekend, with her official appearance at the 2024 Trooping the Colour parade being her first since her cancer diagnosis.

The 42-year-old mother of three joined her children in the traditional carriage-ride on Saturday, before standing on the Buckingham Palace balcony with the rest of the royal family to watch the annual flypast.

Princess Kate's return was welcomed by members of the Mountbatten-Windsors, with King Charles in particular appearing to support her on the day.

In fact, in a touching gesture, the King seemingly broke protocol, choosing to stand next to the Princess of Wales, rather than his son Prince William as was expected.

The royal family attends Trooping the Colour parade

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former royal butler Grant Harrold opened up about the protocol change, explaining that the decision would have been "to show the King and Kate united with each other and going through similar battles.

"I would say this is down to the King's preference," he continued, adding: "the balcony is all orchestrated but I have a feeling the King said to Kate 'you stand next to me.'"

King Charles has reportedly been one of the Princess of Wales' biggest champions throughout her recovery, with the monarch having also received treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer this year.

"[The Princess of Wales] has always had a close relationship with Charles, but this has brought them so much closer," a friend of the royal family reported via Vanity Fair. “Charles adores Kate and has so much respect for her and the courage she has shown in all of this.

"He was fully behind her recording [her health announcement in March]," the source continued. "He has been buoyed by the many messages of support he has received and he knew that Kate would get the same support from the public."

We will continue to update this story.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.