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

The Prince and Princess of Wales were not in attendance.
/ Source: TODAY

King Charles III and Queen Camilla attended Easter Sunday service amid the king’s cancer diagnosis.

Charles and Camilla attended the service on March 31 at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The outing marked the king's first major public event since he was diagnosed with cancer in February.

After the service, Camilla was given a bouquet of flowers from a child outside of the chapel.

Britain's King Charles III and Britain's Queen Camilla greet well-wishers as they leave St. George's Chapel, in Windsor Castle, after attending the Easter Mattins Service, on March 31, 2024.
Queen Camilla receiving a bouquet outside of the chapel with King Charles.Hollie Adams / AFP - Getty Images

The king and queen also greeted members of the public, with Charles expressing his concerns for those in attendance and hoped that they hadn’t been too cold waiting outside.

Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter Matins Service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, England, Sunday, March 31, 2024.
King Charles and Queen Camilla greeting members of the public at Easter Sunday service.Hollie Adams / AP

Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales, did not attend the service. The couple’s three children Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, were also not present.

Earlier in the week, Camilla stepped in for Charles on Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) on March 28 at Worcester Cathedral to give out “Maundy money” as part of an ongoing tradition. At the annual event, the monarch gives out symbolic gifts of money to parishioners to reward them for charity work or service they performed.

While Charles was not in attendance, he recorded an Easter address that was played at the Maundy Thursday service. 

“We need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need,” Charles said in the statement. “In this country we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare.”

Why didn't Prince William or Kate Middleton attend Easter Sunday service?

It's unclear why William and the former Kate Middleton did not attend the Easter Sunday service, but they were not expected to be in attendance.

Kate’s last public appearance was in December 2023, before she underwent a planned abdominal surgery in January.

After her surgery, she took time to recover in the hospital and back at home at Windsor and was expected to be out of the public eye until after Easter Sunday. Her monthslong absence caused a stir on social media, which led to rumors and conspiracy theories being spread online about her wellbeing.

On March 22, Kate gave an update on her health and revealed in a video address that she was in the “early stages” of chemotherapy treatment following a cancer diagnosis. 

Kate explained that after she had abdominal surgery, doctors discovered cancer and she would be undergoing preventive chemotherapy, which refers to treatment that is done after an initial treatment, like surgery, to prevent cancer from coming back.

“As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment,” Kate said in the video. “But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK.”

Kate asked for “time, space and privacy” as she underwent treatment, noting that she is focused on making a “full recovery.”

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh attend the Easter Mattins Service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024 in Windsor, England.
Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh were among the royal family members in attendance at Easter Sunday service.Chris Jackson / Getty Images

What members of the royal family attended Easter Sunday service?

Charles and Camilla were not the only members of the royal family who attended the service at St. George’s Chapel. 

Princess Anne, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh were all in attendance at the Easter Sunday service.

What royal family members usually attend Easter Sunday service?

In years past, the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children have attended Easter Sunday service.

The family attended the service together on April 9, 2023, which was the first Easter Sunday service since the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September 2022. Additionally, the service marked two years since the death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at age 99.

In April 2022, William and Kate attended the service with their two eldest children. Their outfits coordinated, with William and George wearing light blue shirts under their navy suits while Kate and Charlotte wore baby blue dresses with navy accessories.