King Charles attends Easter Sunday service at Windsor Castle

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King Charles has attended the annual Easter Sunday service at Windsor Castle, his first major public appearance since he was diagnosed with cancer.

The king, 75, smiled and waved as he joined Queen Camilla at the Easter Mattins service at St George’s Chapel.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and their son, James, Princess Anne and her husband, Timothy Laurence, and the Duke and Duchess of Yorkalso attended.

The Princess of Wales and her family were absent as she continues her cancer treatment.

In an Easter sermon, the archbishop of Canterbury wished the king and Catherine well and encouraged the congregation to pray for them during their treatment.

Justin Welby also commended the royals for their dignity and praised them for their “lack of selfishness”, which he said “boosted others” to do the same.

He said: “In each of our lives, there are moments which change us for ever – sometimes it is individual. We have watched and sympathised with, and felt alongside, the dignity of the king and the Princess of Wales as they have talked of their cancer, and in doing so, by their lack of selfishness, by their grace and their faith, boosted so many others.”

Charles and Camilla meet members of the public outside St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Photograph: Hollie Adams/PA

It is just over a week since Catherine released a video message revealing she had begun a course of preventive chemotherapy. Her diagnosis was discovered in post-operative tests after abdominal surgery in January.

She said the news was a “huge shock” after an “incredibly tough couple of months” but added: “I am well and getting stronger every day.”

The king’s cancer was detected while undergoing treatment in January for an enlarged prostate and the diagnosis was shared with the public in early February. Neither the king’s nor Catherine’s type of cancer has been disclosed.

The king has continued to work during his treatment but the engagements have so far taken place in private. Earlier this week he expressed “great sadness” at missing the Maundy Thursday service, an annual event commemorating Jesus’s Last Supper.

Camilla has since been at the forefront of royal engagements, due to the reduction in senior working royals, and deputised for the monarch at the ceremony on Thursday.

Last year’s Easter Sunday service was Charles’s first as monarch.

Catherine, the Prince of Wales and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, are spending the Easter holidays together as they adjust to the diagnosis and medical treatment.

A Kensington Palace spokesperson previously said Catherine and William were “enormously touched by the kind messages from people here in the UK, across the Commonwealth and around the world in response to her royal highness’s message”.

It is not yet known which royals will be in attendance at future events in the calendar, including the trooping the colour in June.

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