King Charles, Hoping to Reassure Public, Attends Easter Service

King Charles III walked into the Easter church service on Sunday at Windsor Castle with Queen Camilla, pausing to wave to well-wishers in his first significant public appearance since disclosing last month that he has cancer.

Charles, 75, has continued to work while undergoing treatment, greeting visitors and holding his weekly meetings with the British prime minister, Rishi Sunak. But he has suspended public engagements on the advice of his doctors.

The king’s appearance in a familiar setting, St. George’s Chapel on the grounds of Windsor Castle, was calculated to restore a semblance of normalcy to a royal family that has been thrown badly off balance by multiple health crises this year. Catherine, Princess of Wales, announced just over a week ago that she, too, had been diagnosed with cancer.

As planned, neither Catherine nor her husband, Prince William, appeared with the family at the service. She has not made an official public appearance since Christmas Day, before she entered a hospital for abdominal surgery in January. In a video, Catherine said that tests conducted after the operation found evidence of cancer.

Charles has been a much more visible presence since becoming ill. He is photographed regularly speaking with dignitaries like Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. On Tuesday, the king, who has embraced religious pluralism, met with leaders from multiple faiths at Buckingham Palace.

But he has stayed away from larger gatherings. On Holy Thursday, known in Britain as Maundy Thursday, Charles skipped a service at which the monarch traditionally hands out gifts of special “Maundy Money” coins to people involved in community service. Camilla carried out the ritual, in one of her most conspicuous appearances as a stand-in.

In a video recorded for the service, Charles said, “We need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need.” That was widely interpreted as an acknowledgment of the flood of well-wishes that have poured in since he and Catherine announced their illnesses.

Buckingham Palace has suggested that Charles is impatient and wants to get back to a regular schedule. But it has never specified what type of cancer he has, his prognosis or his treatment.

Two weeks ago, social media channels in Russia were flooded with spurious rumors that Charles had died. After the reports were picked up by several Russian news agencies, the British embassies in Moscow and Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, felt obliged to debunk them, calling it “fake news.”

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