King Charles attends Easter service in first major public outing since cancer diagnosis

King Charles joined the Queen and other members of the Royal Family for an Easter service at Windsor Castle on Sunday, his most significant public outing since he was diagnosed with cancer last month.

The monarch offered a cheery wave to spectators as he walked into St. George’s Chapel for a service expected to last about an hour. A member of the public shouted “Happy Easter,” with Charles responding, “And to you.”

The 75-year-old monarch’s appearance is seen as an effort to reassure the public after Charles stepped back from public duties in early February following an announcement by Buckingham Palace that he was undergoing treatment for an unspecified type of cancer.

The King has continued fulfilling his state duties, such as reviewing government papers and meeting with the prime minister. But his attendance at a traditional royal event like the Easter service is seen as a sign that he is beginning a managed return to public life.

Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla shake hands with people.
King Charles and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter service at St. George’s Chapel. (Hollie Adams/Reuters)

British media reported last week that Charles would slowly increase his public appearances after Easter.

Wales family absent from church service

The service itself was smaller than usual as Catherine, the Princess of Wales, is also being treated for cancer and has paused public duties. The princess, her husband Prince William and their children did not attend.

Catherine’s shock’s announcement that she, too, had cancer was made on March 22, after weeks of speculation about her health and whereabouts following major abdominal surgery in February.

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Londoners react to ‘incredibly sad’ cancer announcement from the Princess of Wales

Catherine, the Princess of Wales, announced she is receiving treatment for cancer, in a video released Friday following a prolonged absence from the public eye.

Charles’s enforced absence from public life has been a setback for a man who is eager to put his stamp on the monarchy after waiting almost 74 years — longer than any previous heir — to become king.

When he succeeded his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Charles faced the daunting task of demonstrating that the 1,000-year-old monarchy remains relevant in a modern nation whose citizens come from all corners of the globe. After less than two years on the throne, the King is still defining himself with the public as he tries to persuade young people and members of minority communities that the Royal Family can represent them.

Although the duties of a constitutional monarch are largely ceremonial, the job of being a royal can be exhausting.

Besides the occasional procession in full royal regalia, there are meetings with political leaders, dedication ceremonies and events honouring the accomplishments of British citizens. That added up to 161 days of royal engagements during Charles’s first year on the throne.

King Charles shakes hands with a boy
King Charles greets two boys after the Easter church service. (Hollie Adams/The Associated Press)

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