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King Charles Greets Crowds at Easter Service in First Major Public Appearance Since Diagnosis

King Charles greeted the public after Easter church service at St George’s Chapel Windsor on Sunday, marking his first major public appearance since his cancer diagnosis was shared by Buckingham Palace on Feb. 5.

The King and his wife, Queen Camilla, waved to a crowd of onlookers outside the chapel, and chatted with the visitors after the service. They were joined by the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh—Prince Edward and Sophie—and their son, James, Earl of Wessex, along with the King’s sister, Princess Anne, who was joined by her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence. Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, were also in attendance.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter Matins service at St George's Chapel.<span class="copyright">Hollie Adams—Getty Images</span>
King Charles III and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter Matins service at St George's Chapel.Hollie Adams—Getty Images

King Charles was diagnosed with an undisclosed type of cancer during a recent treatment for an enlarged prostate. He has continued to carry out many of his royal commitments in private, though he had temporarily paused public-facing duties at the advice of his doctors.

Just a few days ago, the King spoke of his “great sadness” at missing the traditional Maundy Thursday service in a recorded audio message that was played at the service at Worcester Cathedral. Queen Camilla, who attended the service alone, has largely been solely carrying out public engagements that might otherwise fall on her husband.

King Charles shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with members of the public on Easter Sunday.<span class="copyright">Hollie Adams—Getty Images</span>
King Charles shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with members of the public on Easter Sunday.Hollie Adams—Getty Images

The Easter service was a smaller affair than usual this year. Absent from the celebration were the Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children. Catherine, the Princess of Wales, has been absent from public royal engagements since Christmas, after undergoing a planned abdominal surgery in January. On March 22, the Princess announced she had been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing “preventative chemotherapy.”

In January, when it was first announced by Kensington Palace that Kate would be stepping back from royal duties, she was expected to return to royal duties after Easter, though her return has been postponed until she is given clearance by her doctors.

Write to Simmone Shah at simmone.shah@time.com.