Queen inundated with goodwill messages for King and Kate after Maundy service

The Queen was inundated with goodwill messages for the King and Princess of Wales when she stood in for her husband during the historic Royal Maundy Service.

Camilla was asked to pass on public support from some in the congregation at Worcester Cathedral, where she presented Maundy money to community stalwarts in recognition of their service.

And when she went on a brief walkabout, meeting well-wishers outside, she was presented with a card for her daughter-in-law while others told the royal they were thinking of her.

Bishop of Worcester Dr John Inge, who as Lord High Almoner led the service, remembered the King during the “Blessing” and told the Queen “we hope you will convey to him our love and respect”.

Charles may have been missing but he had recorded an audio message for the service, in which he reaffirmed his coronation pledge “not to be served, but to serve” with “my whole heart”.

The King’s address did not directly refer to his and Kate’s treatment for undisclosed types of cancer, but highlighted those who “extend the hand of friendship” – likely to be interpreted as the nation’s response to the monarchy’s double health scare.

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives as she attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral
The Queen with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives at Worcester Cathedral (Chris Jackson/PA)

After the ceremony Camilla met well-wisher Sheila Clark, 66, from Glasgow, who handed over a posy of flowers, a picture of the King and Queen taken at the Scottish Highland Braemar Games, and a card for Kate.

Ms Clark, a retired teacher, said about the message in her card: “Just that I’m hoping Kate’s getting on well and I’m sorry to hear about her illness and hoping Kate gets peace now to recover – that’s really what I wanted to say.

“I just wanted to come and see the Queen, I’ve followed her for many, many years, and just to let her know that I’m thinking of her.

“I wrote to her some weeks ago and I got a lovely card back from her and something from the King as well.”

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives as she attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral
Camilla holds the nosegay bouquet at the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral (Chris Jackson/PA)

Around 200 people braved cold and wet conditions to catch a glimpse of the Queen but when she first arrived a large and noisy protest was staged by the anti-monarchy group Republic who shouted “down with the crown”.

Laura Skrzynskr, 58, living in London but originally from the US, said: “I told Camilla to send her good wishes to the King for me and to the Princess of Wales – and I wished her a happy Easter.

“I’m a royalist, we don’t have a royal family back in America but I like it here.”

Queen Camilla meets well-wishers after attending the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral
The Queen meets well-wishers after attending the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral (Justin Tallis/PA)

The service is a major event in the royal calendar and sees Maundy money – newly minted coins – normally distributed to community stalwarts by the head of state, but Camilla’s role in the ceremony is believed to be a first for a Queen Consort.

During his pre-recorded address Charles said: “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.”

The King has stepped back from large-scale public duties while receiving outpatient cancer treatment, and he spoke of his “great sadness” at not being able to attend the service.

The Queen meets well-wishers following the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral
The Queen meets well-wishers following the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral (Justin Tallis/PA)

The pre-recorded message began with a Bible reading from the Gospel of John, which describes how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples – the root of the modern day Royal Maundy Service.

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 – were presented with two purses, one red and one white, filled with Maundy money.

Maundy recipient Norman Tomlinson, 72, from Mansfield, received the unique coins for his work with his local hospice and Catholic church which includes taking communion to the sick and housebound.

Mr Tomlinson said: “This is just a fantastic day – a once in a lifetime (experience). I said to the Queen I hope the King gets well soon and your daughter-in-law as well and she said ‘thank you very much’.”