King Charles attends Easter Sunday service

The King had postponed all previous public engagements since Buckingham Palace announced he was to undergo treatment for cancer

Britain’s King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive to attend the Easter Matins Service at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, Britain March 31, 2024. REUTERS/Hollie Adams/Pool

Shajil Kumar

King Charles attended the annual Easter church service in Windsor on Sunday, his first appearance at a public royal event since his cancer diagnosis was announced in February.

Charles, 75, waved as he and Queen Camilla arrived by car at St George’s Chapel, the resting place of his late mother Queen Elizabeth, for the service.

The king, wearing a dark overcoat, and queen waved to onlookers when they arrived at the chapel by car from their residence at Windsor Castle.

The king’s sister, the Princess Royal, and brother, the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by their spouses, also attended, as did the Duke of York, who was removed from royal duties in 2022 due to his friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Charles has postponed all previous public engagements since Buckingham Palace announced he was to undergo treatment for an unspecified form of cancer which was found in tests after he had a corrective procedure to an enlarged prostate in January.

While the king attended church on Sunday, his son Prince William and his family did not. William’s wife Catherine said earlier this month she was undergoing preventative chemotherapy after cancer was discovered following abdominal surgery in January.

Charles has kept up with the bulk of his non-public state duties such as greeting foreign officials and holding regular meetings with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Last week the king did not attend an annual Maundy Thursday service at Worcester Cathedral, but issued an audio message that was aired at the event. He expressed his sorrow at not being there and wished the public a happy Easter.

The BBC claims this does not mark the start of a return to public duties, but a careful first step back into the public eye.

Archbishop’s message

“We pray for her and the King in their dignified response and we pray for all those who are suffering the same way,” the Archbishop of Canterbury, Reverend Justin Welby, said in his Easter sermon at Canterbury Cathedral earlier on Sunday.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke of the charities and volunteer organisations that support those in need in his official Easter message and described the festival as a chance to pause and reflect.

“This weekend, as people come together to celebrate and reflect on the message at the heart of the Easter festival, I want to pay tribute to the incredible work of Christians in this country,” said Sunak in his message released by Downing Street.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer spoke of a time for “new beginnings” in his Easter message, with reference to the coming general election later this year.

“The Easter story is one of hope and renewal, of overcoming adversity and light prevailing over darkness. As families and friends gather to celebrate the holiday we turn our thoughts towards new beginnings, our future and how things can change for the better,” said Starmer, during a visit to St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in London. (Agencies)