King Charles attends Easter service in first major public appearance

NEW DELHI: King Charles III greeted and conversed with spectators after participating in an Easter service at Windsor Castle on Sunday, marking his most notable public appearance since receiving a cancer diagnosis last month.
Dressed in a dark overcoat and a shiny blue tie, the king smiled as he walked along a rope line outside St. George’s Chapel for approximately five minutes on a chilly early spring day.He reached out to greet supporters, who waved get-well cards and took photos, marking his most significant public interaction since his cancer diagnosis last month. “You’re very brave to stand out here in the cold,” Charles told them.
“Keep going strong,” one member of the crowd shouted as Charles and Queen Camilla walked by.
The 75-year-old monarch’s presence was viewed as an attempt to reassure the public. Charles had scaled back his public engagements in early February after Buckingham Palace disclosed that he was undergoing treatment for an unspecified form of cancer.
While the king has persisted in carrying out his state obligations, including reviewing government documents and holding meetings with the prime minister, his participation in a customary royal occasion like the Easter service is interpreted as an indication of his gradual reintroduction to public life. British media outlets indicated last week that Charles would gradually expand his public engagements following Easter.
The Easter service was notably smaller than usual, as Princess Kate, who is undergoing cancer treatment, has temporarily suspended her public duties. Neither she, her husband Prince William, nor their children attended the service.
Kate Middleton’s surprising revelation about her cancer diagnosis was announced on March 22, following weeks of speculation regarding her health and whereabouts subsequent to undergoing significant abdominal surgery in February.
Charles’ mandated withdrawal from public engagements has been a setback for a man keen on shaping the monarchy, having waited nearly 74 years — longer than any previous heir — to ascend to the throne.
Upon his succession following Queen Elizabeth II, Charles confronted the formidable challenge of showcasing the relevance of the 1,000-year-old monarchy in a modern nation with citizens from diverse corners of the globe. With less than two years on the throne, the king is in the process of defining his public persona as he endeavors to convince young individuals and members of minority communities that the royal family can be inclusive and representative of them.
While the responsibilities of a constitutional monarch are primarily ceremonial, the role of royalty can be draining. Apart from occasional processions in full regalia, there are numerous meetings with political figures, dedication ceremonies, and events celebrating the achievements of British citizens. In Charles’s first year as king, these engagements amounted to a total of 161 days.
The palace made concerted efforts to maintain the king’s visibility in the public sphere, even as he aimed to minimize contacts to lower his risk of infection during treatment. Videos showing the king reading get-well cards and meeting with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak were publicly released. Additionally, he participated in a session of the Privy Council, a gathering of senior advisors.
Although he did not attend a pre-Easter service on Thursday, Charles issued a pre recorded audio message expressing his remorse for missing a tradition typically attended by the monarch.
Additionally, he reiterated his commitment, made during his coronation, that “not to be served, but to serve.”
“That I have always tried to do and continue to do, with my whole heart,” he said.


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