April 17, 2024

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King Charles attends Easter Mass at Windsor;  No Princess Kate after cancer diagnosis

King Charles attends Easter Mass at Windsor; No Princess Kate after cancer diagnosis

LONDON — King Charles III arrived at Easter Mass in the chapel at Windsor Castle — his first major event since his cancer diagnosis in February.

Charles, 75, accompanied Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family to the Gothic-style St. George's Chapel for the traditional annual engagement.

King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive for the Easter service at Windsor Castle.WPA Pool/Getty Images
King Charles III greets people after attending Easter Mass at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.Holly Adams, WPA Pool/Getty Images

The king's public appearance will provide a timely boost to the royal family, which has been plagued by illness and media speculation. But the absence of Prince William and Kate, Princess of Wales, after her cancer diagnosis was revealed, was a reminder that the royal ranks remain depleted.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, mentioned the king and Kate in his introduction to his Easter sermon on Sunday.

Charles III and Queen Camilla greet people after attending Easter Mass at St George's Chapel, Windsor CastleHolly Adams, WPA Pool/Getty Images

“In every one of our lives there are moments that change us forever,” Welby said. “Sometimes it's individual. We witnessed, we empathized, we felt alongside the dignity of the King and Princess of Wales when they spoke about cancer – and in doing so, through their lack of selfishness, and with their grace and faith, they strengthened so many others.”

Charles undergoes regular treatment and has withdrawn from public engagements on medical advice, although he continues to carry out many of his duties behind closed doors.

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Officials did not reveal the form or stage of his cancer.

On Thursday, he made his first public comments since Kate announced she had become the second senior member of the royal family to be diagnosed with cancer, stressing the importance of friendship “particularly in a time of need.”

The pre-recorded audio message was heard at the traditional Maundy Thursday Mass at Worcester Cathedral, in the city of the same name about 130 miles northwest of London.

Jesus set “an example of how to serve and care for one another,” and how “we need and benefit greatly from those who extend a hand of friendship to us, especially in our time of need,” Charles said.

Although he did not directly address or mention his daughter-in-law's health in his brief personal message, some royal observers interpreted his words in the context of the ongoing family health crisis.

The King's PR team also released a new photo of the smiling monarch sitting at a desk in the 18th Century Room at Buckingham Palace, appearing to record his speech via microphone.

Charles spoke of how touched he was by the inundation of letters and cards from well-wishers from all over the UK and beyond while undergoing treatment for cancer.

In a statement after Kate revealed her diagnosis last Friday, he said he had become closer to his daughter-in-law through their shared hospital stay. She added that the king was “so proud of Catherine for having the courage to speak out as she did.”

Kate said in a video statement that she is undergoing a “course of preventive chemotherapy” on the advice of her medical team.

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She did not specify what type of cancer she had or at what stage it was discovered, and Kensington Palace, the couple's royal family, did not say why the operation was necessary.

Inside the palace doors, the shock of her diagnosis was “enormous,” NBC News royal contributor Katie Nicholl told Today on Friday.

“Kate’s cancer diagnosis was kept within a very, very narrow group of people,” Nicholl said. “It was William, it was the king, it was Camilla and of course Kate's family. But I know that even though Queen Camilla knew about it, she didn't even tell her children.”

William, Kate and their children – George, 10, Charlotte, 8, and Louis, 5 – attended Easter Mass last year, but Kate asked for privacy in her personal video message announcing her diagnosis.