Royals return? King Charles meets Jeremy Hunt ahead of Budget after MoD said Kate will attend Trooping the Colour

5 March 2024, 14:38 | Updated: 5 March 2024, 14:58

The King has continued royal duties amid his cancer treatment as he met with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of tomorrow's Budget
The King has continued royal duties amid his cancer treatment as he met with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of tomorrow's Budget. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

The King has continued royal duties amid his cancer treatment as he met with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt ahead of tomorrow's Budget.

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The Princess of Wales, meanwhile, will also return to her royal engagements after the Ministry of Defence announced she would be attending Trooping the Colour in June following her abdominal surgery.

Kate was pictured for the first time yesterday after not being seen in public since before Christmas.

Meeting in the private audience room in Buckingham Palace this morning, the king greeted Mr Hunt - as is customary for the chancellor ahead of his economic statement to the House of Commons tomorrow.

The in-person pre-Budget meeting with the chancellor and monarch is usually in private, but the two were pictured shaking hands and smiling together.

King Charles III meets with Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt in the private audience room at Buckingham Palace, Tuesday
King Charles III meets with Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt in the private audience room at Buckingham Palace, Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Kate's return: Princess to play major role in Trooping the Colour as part of comeback to royal duties after surgery

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Mr Hunt is expected to announce cuts to "some spending" and shrink his fiscal headroom in order to finance any tax cuts at Wednesday's spring budget tomorrow.

The chancellor said this week he wanted to move towards a "lower tax economy" in a hint at a pre-election giveaway to voters in the form of a national insurance or income tax cut.

He stressed the need to act in a "responsible" way, however, in a sign that plans could be restrained compared to the hopes of some Conservatives.

The king's meeting with the chancellor comes after Kate was seen with her mother Carole Middleton, driving near Windsor Castle yesterday, amid a series of conspiracy theories appearing online as to why the Princess of Wales has not been seen in public for so long.

This was also fuelled when Kensington Palace announced on short notice that Prince William would be dropping out of the memorial service for his godfather King Constantine of Greece due to a "personal matter".

Ms Middleton was seen behind the wheel of a black Audi while Kate sat in the passenger seat in thick dark sunglasses.

The photos were published by US gossip website TMZ and have not been reproduced by news outlets in the UK.

The photo, said to be taken on Monday at around 9am, is understood to have been taken by unauthorised paparazzi.

King Charles, Queen Camilla and the Royal family at Trooping the Colour on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, June 17, 2023
King Charles, Queen Camilla and the Royal family at Trooping the Colour on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, June 17, 2023. Picture: Alamy

What could be announced in Wednesday’s Budget

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It comes as the Ministry of Defence earlier today confirmed Kate's first official royal engagement after returning to her duties.

The Princess of Wales will lead the major royal event, the ministry said, which will take place on Saturday, June 8, later this summer.

Kensington Palace, however, is still yet to confirm whether Kate will be in attendance at the annual pageantry display to celebrate the Sovereign's official birthday - promoting confusion about her involvement and return to official duties.

Policewomen stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate Princess of Wales is recovering from surgery, London, January 18
Policewomen stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate Princess of Wales is recovering from surgery, London, January 18. Picture: Alamy

Read More: Jeremy Hunt 'to cut National Insurance by 2p' in Budget as tax boost for workers

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A description from the Ministry of Defence said: "Trooping the Colour reviewed by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales is identical to Trooping the Colour reviewed by His Majesty The King, with the exception that some additional mounted officers ride when His Majesty The King is present.

"Taking part will be over 1400 soldiers of the Household Division and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, including 400 musicians from the Massed Bands, all of whom will parade on Horse Guards for the second of two formal Reviews."

"Trooping the Colour reviewed by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales also includes 250 soldiers from the Foot Guards who will line the processional route along The Mall," the description continues.

"The soldiers will be inspected by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, Colonel Irish Guards."

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