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Princess Kate makes her first public appearance since her cancer diagnosis

LONDON >> Kate, Britain’s Princess of Wales, waved to the crowd and smiled broadly from the balcony of Buckingham Palace after attending a military parade today. This year she made her first public appearance as she undergoes treatment for cancer.

The 42-year-old princess was in hospital for two weeks in January after undergoing major abdominal surgery. Two months later, she announced in a video message that tests had revealed the presence of cancer and that she was receiving preventive chemotherapy.

She is still receiving treatment, but her improved health has allowed her to appear in public for the first time since December.

The princess rode in a covered wagon with her three children to watch the Trooping the Colour, an annual military parade marking the official birthday of the British monarch, King Charles.

Despite heavy rain, people lined the streets and waved and cheered as the carriage passed by. There was more than a small group of protesters with banners calling for an end to the monarchy.

Charles rode in a separate carriage with Queen Camilla, followed by Prince William, Charles’s heir and Kate’s husband, who was on horseback along with other senior members of the royal family.

Kate, wearing a pale outfit adorned with a white and navy blue ribbon by British fashion designer Jenny Packham and a matching wide-brimmed hat by Irish milliner Philip Treacy, watched the ceremony from a window overlooking the parade ground.

She pointed out aspects of the event to her children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, while Charles saluted passing troops from a covered stage on the parade ground itself.

The King and Queen, as well as William, Kate and other members of the royal family, later returned to Buckingham Palace to watch a military flypast from the balcony. Kate smiled broadly and waved.

In a rare personal written message on Friday, she said she was making good progress but was “not out of the woods yet.” She said she was looking forward to attending today’s parade and hoped to take part in some public appearances this summer.

Kate’s office, Kensington Palace, has declined to provide details about the type of cancer or her treatment, other than to say preventative chemotherapy had begun in February.

Before the parade, spectators said they were looking forward to seeing the princess.

“I know it’s the King’s birthday but all eyes will be on Kate because we haven’t seen her for a while,” said John Loughrey, who wore a T-shirt with photos of Kate on it.

Another audience member, Anne Gaely, who carried a life-size cardboard cutout of the princess, said she was relieved that Kate would be there in the flesh.

“We’ve all been very worried and uncomfortable about it, but now this is going to be joyful, euphoric and wonderful,” she said.

In her message on Friday, Kate said she had been “overwhelmed” by thousands of kind messages from all over the world, which had made a world of difference to her and William.

“I am making good progress, but as anyone undergoing chemotherapy knows, there are good days and bad days,” Kate’s statement said.

Her illness coincided with that of Charles, 75, who was also undergoing treatment for cancer. He returned to public duties in April and has remained busy, although his daily commitments have been limited to minimize risks to his recovery.