When the royal family gather on the balcony of Buckingham Palace for the annual Trooping of the Colour parade on June 15, it ’s possible that Kate Middleton won’t be among them. The princess has been undergoing chemotherapy for an unspecified cancer and stopped doing public appearances in December.

That doesn’t mean she’s taking a back seat with her family. Kate, 42, and William, 41, have plans to make this summer memorable for their children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 9, and Prince Louis, 6. “The summer is when Kate just wants the kids to be kids and get to be a little freer,” shares a royals insider. “And this summer, more than ever, is going to be all about the kids.”

To escape the heat of the city, the family will largely be based at Anmer Hall, their country house about three hours from London. “Every summer Kate tries to make sure that the kids are outside as much as possible,” says the insider, who adds that the doting mom has asked the children to come up with fun activities they can do as a family. From hiking and horseback riding to baking cupcakes, the kids have been full of ideas. “There are guidelines, of course, but Kate thinks giving them a say will make it more memorable.”

Kate Middleton Wants All of Her Family to Be Close

For a vivacious and athletic woman like Kate, being treated for cancer has been a wake-up call. “Kate is mostly feeling well and just trying her best to stay upbeat,” says the insider. She feels more grateful for the little things, like sitting in the garden and watching George, Charlotte and Louis play together. “Kate feels horrible that her children have been so worried about her,” adds the insider. “She feels very much that it is supposed to be the other way around.”

Kate hopes that she will feel strong enough to spend many weekends with her parents, Carole and Michael, who have recently retired, her siblings, Pippa and James, and their spouses and children. “Summer is the best time for them to get together because they all live in different places,” says the insider. “Kate wants all the cousins to be close.”

Kate Middleton Wants ‘Memorable’ Summer With 3 Kids Amid Cancer
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The royal family is hoping that Kate and King Charles, 75, who is also being treated for cancer, will both feel healthy enough for the annual trip to Balmoral Castle in rural Scotland.

“One of the things that Kate and Charles have in common is the feeling that being in nature is healing,” says the insider. The 50,000-acre estate, which was a great favorite of Queen Elizabeth II, includes forests, farmland, lakes and moors. About 2,000 red deer also call the vast property home. “The family enjoys doing all the things the queen loved to do there,” explains the insider. “They ride horses, play with the dogs and go shooting. It’s a good way of being a family and remembering Elizabeth.”

When they’re all together doing activities they’ve enjoyed in less troubled times, they feel hopeful. “It’s going to be a different summer,” says the insider. “But Kate’s been resting up so she can savor every moment.”