Charles ‘in good spirits’ as he surprises crowds with a walkabout following Easter Sunday service

Service at Windsor Castle marks the King’s first public appearance since he was diagnosed with cancer

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Sunday 31 March 2024 19:15 BST
Royal enthusiasts elated to see King Charles at Easter service: ‘He looks so well’

King Charles was said to be “in good spirits” as he spoke to wellwishers outside Windsor Castle following an Easter Sunday service at St George’s Chapel.

The service was the King’s most notable public appearance since he was diagnosed with cancer in February, announced a month before the Princess of Wales revealed her own cancer diagnosis in an emotional video last week.

Wearing a dark coat and blue tie, Charles and Queen Camilla shook hands and spoke with those who had gathered at the castle in a surprise walkabout following the service, and told them: “You’re very brave to stand out here in the cold.”

King Charles was said to be ‘in good spirits’ as he spoke to well-wishers outside Windsor Castle (AP)
Charles and Queen Camilla attended the Easter Sunday service (AFP via Getty)

Henry Wood, 20, a private wine merchant from Basingstoke who attended the service with his family, said: “It was nice to see the King in good spirits and the whole family in good spirits, as if nothing was wrong.”

Anne Daley, 65, from Cardiff, held up a Welsh flag when the King arrived and was the first to speak to him when he re-emerged from the chapel for his walkabout.

She said: “He had a lovely smile. He looked well. I think he was happy that we’ve all come.”

The Princess Royal and vice admiral Sir Tim Laurence arrive for the Easter Mattins service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle (Hollie Adams/PA)
Princess Anne, Sir Tim, Sarah Ferguson and the Duke of York leave after attending the Easter Mattins service (Getty)

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.

One well-wisher told the monarch: “We’re all rooting for you, we’ve all got your back.”

The Prince and Princess of Wales did not attend the service, but Charles was joined by the Princess Royal and her husband vice-admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York.

William and Kate are spending the Easter holidays together as they adjust to the princess’s diagnosis, which was discovered in post-operative tests after major abdominal surgery.

King Charles meets members of the public following the Easter service (Hollie Adams/PA)
Crowds were delighted to meet Charles and Camilla in a surprise walkabout (Reuters)

The King was described by the palace as being “so proud” of the princess for her courage in speaking out, and is said to be in “the closest contact with his beloved daughter-in-law”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury opened his Easter sermon on Sunday with a call to prayer for Charles and Kate. He said he listened with “compassion and sympathy” as Kate told the world about her cancer diagnosis in an emotional video.

“In each of our lives there are moments that change us forever,” Justin Welby told Canterbury Cathedral.

“We pray for her and the King in their dignified response and we pray for all those who are suffering the same way.”

The King’s appearance at the annual event will be seen as an effort to reassure the public as the royal family is dealing with a double health scare.

The managing editor of Majesty magazine, Joe Little, said the Windsor Castle walkabout would help draw the focus away from the Princess of Wales.

“Clearly, there is still some progress to be made, but the fact that what happened today actually happened at all is hugely encouraging,” he said.

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