King Charles greets well-wishers after Easter Sunday service

April 1, 2024 - 10:36 AM
Britain's King Charles and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter Matins Service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, Britain March 31, 2024. (Reuters/Hollie Adams/Pool)

 Britain’s King Charles greeted well-wishers in an impromptu walkabout after an Easter church service in Windsor on Sunday, his first appearance at a public royal event since his cancer diagnosis was announced in February.

A smiling Charles, 75, accompanied by Queen Camilla, shook hands with scores of people gathered outside St George’s Chapel, the resting place of his late mother Queen Elizabeth.

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

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

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 queen was wearing a green coat dress and an emerald and diamond brooch that was the late queen’s.

Some of the onlookers wished Charles good health, while others said “Happy Easter”.

The king said: “You’re very brave to stand out here in the cold.”

A woman who spoke to the king said he seemed “very well”.

Buckingham Palace has not confirmed any future public engagements for the king, but his eagerness to meet people on Sunday will be taken as a positive sign about his health.

Also attending the annual service were the king’s sister, the Princess Royal, and brother, the Duke of Edinburgh, accompanied by their spouses.

The Duke of York, who was removed from royal duties in 2022 due to his friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was also present.

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 but issued an audio message which aired at the event in which he expressed his sorrow at not being there and wished the public a Happy Easter.

— Writing by Paul Sandle and Michael Holden; Editing by Frances Kerry and Nick Macfie