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Home » Cancer-Stricken King Charles Tells Of ‘great Sadness’ At Missing Traditional Maundy Service: Monarch Delivers Pre-Recorded Easter Audio Message Of ‘friendship’ To Worcester Cathedral As Camilla Attends In His Absence To Hand Out Gifts

Cancer-Stricken King Charles Tells Of ‘great Sadness’ At Missing Traditional Maundy Service: Monarch Delivers Pre-Recorded Easter Audio Message Of ‘friendship’ To Worcester Cathedral As Camilla Attends In His Absence To Hand Out Gifts

Queen Camilla deputised for King Charles at the ancient Royal Maundy ceremony for the first time today as she continued her royal duties while he is treated for cancer.

Charles recorded an address which was played at the service in Worcester after being advised not to undertake major public engagements for now – although he did carry out two credentials presentations back at Buckingham Palace in London.

And the King – who was earlier seen today waving to well-wishers as he left Clarence House – used his Maundy message to emphasise helping those in need.

Charles, who also told of his ‘great sadness’ at missing the service this afternoon, spoke as a new portrait of the 75-year-old monarch was released ahead of Easter.

Earlier this month Charles recorded the special message and Bible reading in the 18th Century Room at Buckingham Palace, which was played to the congregation.

Held this year at Worcester Cathedral, the service is one of the most significant set-pieces in the royal calendar and held huge spiritual significance for Elizabeth II.

As Camilla arrived today she would have heard shouts of ‘Down With The Crown’ from protesters with Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state. 

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives during the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla waves as she leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla comes out to meet well-wishers in Worcester after attending the service today

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla signs a book at the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla comes out to meet well-wishers in Worcester after attending the service today

Camilla holds a Nosegay bouquet as she poses for a photograph with the Yeomen of the Guard during the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning 

Queen Camilla walks with interim Dean of Worcester Cathedral, Reverend Canon Stephen Edwards, at the Royal Maundy service this afternoon

Queen Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

King Charles III is seen waving to well-wishers as he leaves Clarence House in London today

The Ambassador of Burundi, Epimeni Bapfinda presents his credentials to King Charles during a private audience at Buckingham Palace in London today

In Charles’s speech, there was no mention of family health matters – his own cancer diagnosis and treatment, as well as that of his daughter-in-law, the Princess of Wales.

Instead, the King stressed the importance of acts of friendship ‘especially in a time of need’ in the personal Easter message.

Charles’ pre-recorded audio – his first public words since Kate revealed she was undergoing chemotherapy – was broadcast in his absence.

He said how Jesus Christ set an ‘example of how we should serve and care for each other’, and how as a nation ‘we need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need’.

While the King did not directly refer to his and his daughter-in-law’s health, his words will be interpreted as reflecting on the nation’s response to his and Kate’s challenges as they continue treatment for cancer.

The Princess released an emotional video message last Friday revealing she has started a course of preventative chemotherapy.

Queen Camilla comes out to meet well-wishers in Worcester after attending the service today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

An anti-monarchy protest by Republic at Worcester Cathedral today ahead of the service

Queen Camilla stands with the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning 

Queen Camilla walks with interim Dean of Worcester Cathedral, Reverend Canon Stephen Edwards, at the Royal Maundy service this afternoon

Queen Camilla comes out to meet well-wishers in Worcester after attending the service today

Queen Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives during the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Security outside the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Yeomanry guards carry bowls containing red and white Maundy money purses today

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives during the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla walks with the Bishop of Worcester, John Inge, this morning

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla comes out to meet well-wishers in Worcester after attending the service today

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla stands with the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives during the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

A photograph issued by the Royal Household of King Charles III during the recording of his audio message for the Royal Maundy service, which was done at Buckingham Palace

Queen Camilla stands with the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Yeomanry guards carry bowls containing red and white Maundy money purses today

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla waves as she departs the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives during the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Red purses which contain a £5 coin which features the image of a Tudor dragon and King Charles III, and a 50p coin commemorating the RNLI, which Queen Camilla distributed today

Queen Camilla departs the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla stands with the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

She later was said to be ‘extremely moved’ by the public support following her announcement.

Kate faced mounting online conspiracy theories about her whereabouts and her condition after retreating from public view to recuperate following major abdominal surgery in January.

The King told last month how he had been reduced to tears by the messages and cards of support he received from well-wishers.

The 75-year-old, who only acceded to the throne 18 months ago, will also reamplify his Coronation pledge ‘not to be served but to serve’.

He has recorded a Bible reading and, in his brief personal message, will describe the Maundy money recipients as ‘wonderful examples of such kindness’ in ‘giving so much of their lives to the service of others in their communities’.

He will also re-amplify his own Coronation pledge: ‘Not to be served but to serve.’

It was recorded as an audio instead of on video as Worcester Cathedral does not have the capacity to play a television message.

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

White purses which contain a set of specially minted silver Maundy coins, which Queen Camilla distributed during the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Queen Camilla stands with the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester, today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

The order of service for the Royal Maundy Service attended by Queen Camilla today

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Red purses which contain a £5 coin which features the image of a Tudor dragon and King Charles III, and a 50p coin commemorating the RNLI, which Queen Camilla distributed today 

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Queen Camilla arrives for the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral this morning

Camilla is greeted today by the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, the Bishop of Worcester

Protesters stand outside Worcester Cathedral this morning ahead of the Royal Maundy Service

An anti-monarchy protest by Republic at Worcester Cathedral today ahead of the service

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, protests at Worcester Cathedral today

Protesters stand outside Worcester Cathedral this morning ahead of the Royal Maundy Service

The portrait accompanying the message shows the King looking relaxed and in good spirits, with a posy of spring flowers and two microphones ready to capture his words.

The Royal Maundy service is a major fixture on the royal calendar and normally the monarch, who is the head of the Church of England, presents specially minted coins to people recognised for their community service.

The ceremony, held on the Thursday before Easter Sunday, commemorates Jesus’s Last Supper when he washed the feet of his disciples as an act of humility the day before Good Friday.

Today sovereigns no longer wash the feet of the needy as they did in medieval times but 75 women and 75 men – signifying the King’s age – will be presented with two purses, one red and one white, filled with Maundy money.

The Maundy Money ceremony began in 1662, when Charles II gave out coins.

The King’s message comes as he prepares to attend church at St Goerge’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Easter Sunday with Camilla – his most significant public appearance since his diagnosis in early February.

But there will be a reduced number of royals present in order to avoid the health risks associated with large crowds.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their family will be absent.

YESTERDAY — Queen Camilla meets well-wishers during a visit to Shrewsbury farmer’s market

YESTERDAY — King Charles III smiles during an audience with Mohamed Nasheed, Secretary-General of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, at Buckingham Palace in London

LAST FRIDAY — The Princess of Wales revealed she had cancer in a video message last Friday

LAST YEAR — King Charles III at the Royal Maundy service at York Minster on April 6, 2023

Kate was last seen at a public engagement on December 25, then underwent abdominal surgery in January, after which cancer was found.

The King is continuing private meetings and work on state business, and yesterday received Mohamed Nasheed, secretary general of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, at Buckingham Palace.

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, had a small contingent of activists demonstrating in Worcester for the Queen’s visit.

The group said last week on social media: ‘We’re very sorry to hear about Kate’s cancer diagnosis and wish her a speedy recovery.’

But Graham Smith, chief executive of the group, said on Wednesday: ‘Unlike royalists, we don’t conflate the family with the institution. It’s the institution we’re protesting against this week.

‘This is a campaign about principles, politics and reform.’

He added: ‘Republic’s campaign continues unabated and the protests will continue for as long as the monarchy is there.’

‘The Maundy Service has a very special place in my heart’: King Charles III’s audio address in full   Here is the full text of the King’s audio address which was broadcast during the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral today:

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, it is, for me, a great sadness that I cannot be with you all today.

‘The Maundy Service has a very special place in my heart.

‘It has its origin in the life of Our Lord who knelt before his disciples and, to their great surprise, washed their travel-weary feet.

‘And, as we have just heard, in doing so he deliberately gave to them and to us all an example of how we should serve and care for each other.

‘In this country we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare.

‘But over and above these organisations and their selfless staff, we need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need.

‘The 150 men and women who have been chosen today to receive the Maundy money from my wife are wonderful examples of such kindness; of going way beyond the call of duty and of giving so much of their lives to the service of others in their communities.

‘The act of worship, here in Worcester Cathedral, reminds me of the pledge I made at the beginning of the coronation service – to follow Christ’s example ‘not to be served but to serve’.

‘That I have always tried to do and continue to do, with my whole heart.

‘It is my special prayer today that Our Lord’s example of serving one another might continue to inspire us and to strengthen all our communities.

‘May God bless you all this Easter.’