Young Royals Rally Round Prince William in Princess Kate’s Absence

Prince William was supported by a number of his nonworking royal cousins on Tuesday as he faced hosting a Buckingham Palace garden party solo in London, while Princess Kate continues her absence from public life following a cancer diagnosis.

Hosted on behalf of King Charles III for 8,000 guests from around Britain and the Commonwealth, the prince would traditionally have been joined by Kate for the garden party as host.

Instead, this year the prince was joined by two senior working royals, the septuagenarian Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, but also a crowd of younger royals who are not on King Charles’ slimmed-down working-royal roster.

William invited Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips, the children of his aunt, Princess Anne, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, daughters of his uncle Prince Andrew, to attend the event where they informally met with guests in the wet weather.

Newsweek approached Kensington Palace via email for comment.

Prince William and Zara Tindall
Main picture: Prince William and (inset) Zara Tindall attend a Buckingham Palace garden party, London, May 21, 2024. The prince was accompanied by a number of his cousins for the event while Princess Kate continues…

Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images

The royal show of support from William’s cousins comes as Princess Kate passed the two-month mark since the public announcement that she has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing a course of “preventive chemotherapy.”

The princess stepped out of the public eye in January to undergo abdominal surgery and has remained absent from duties following the cancer revelation.

In her announcement, Kate said she looked forward to resuming her schedule of public work “when I am able” but added that: “for now I must focus on making a full recovery.”

On Monday, a Kensington Palace spokesperson said that Kate would not return to her public work until cleared to do so by her doctors, leaving William to carry out visits and engagements solo for the time being.

William is known to be close to his royal cousins, particularly Zara Tindall and her husband, the former professional England rugby player, Mike Tindall.

In September 2023, William and Kate took part in a special episode of Tindall’s The Good, the Bad and the Rugby podcast, filmed at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England, with Princess Anne to mark the beginning of the Rugby World Cup. William is patron of the Welsh Rugby Union; Kate of the English Rugby Union; and Anne of the Scottish Rugby Union.

Zara has not undertaken official work for the crown, instead becoming a professional sportsperson in her own right. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she became an Olympic-level horse rider. In 2012, she won a silver medal as part of Team GB’s eventing team at The Games in London.

Zara and her brother, Peter Phillips, were with their cousins William and Prince Harry at one of the most-difficult times in their lives. The then-children were together at Balmoral Castle in Scotland when news broke that Princess Diana had died following a car crash in Paris in the summer of 1997.

Prince William's Royal Cousins
From left: Zara Tindall, Peter Phillips, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie attend the Buckingham Palace garden party hosted by Prince William in London, May 21, 2024. The royals met with members of the public at…

Yui Mok-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Though William’s request that his cousins attend the garden party may seem at odds with the idea of King Charles III’s slimmed-down monarchy (reducing the number of visible royals at working events to only those who represent the crown), it is not a move without precedent.

Queen Elizabeth II often invited her nonworking royal grandchildren to attend Buckingham Palace garden parties in an unofficial capacity.

King Charles has also included his nephews and nieces in invitations for larger ceremonial events such as his coronation in May 2023.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek‘s royal reporter, based in London. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek‘s The Royals Facebook page.

Do you have a question about King Charles III, William and Kate, Meghan and Harry, or their family that you would like our experienced royal correspondents to answer? Email We’d love to hear from you.