King Charles will attend church but skip Easter lunch in ‘gentle steps’ towards public return


Matins event on Sunday will be the monarch’s first public appearance since beginning cancer treatment almost two months ago


The Telegraph ---------- The King will go to church on Easter Sunday but will not host lunch afterwards as part of a tweaked schedule to allow him to greet the public for the first time since his cancer diagnosis.
The King hopes to walk to and from St George’s Chapel, in Windsor, after agreeing modifications to the Royal family’s traditional Easter diary to protect his health.
It will be his first outside appearance since embarking on treatment for cancer nearly two months ago, in what has been described as “gentle steps” towards returning to some of his public duties in summer.
The Royal family has agreed to send a smaller than usual contingent to the chapel, with the King’s seat, which is next to the Queen’s and set apart from the rest of the congregation, considered an acceptable environment at this stage of his illness.
He is expected to be seen walking to church with the Queen, entering through the Galilee Porch. Weather permitting, he will be able to wave and greet from a distance a small crowd, made up of members of the congregation and those who live on the Windsor estate.
He is not expected to attend a post-service reception or host a private family lunch, in an approach described as “Easter Lite”.
A palace source called the King’s planned attendance a “sign of things heading in the right direction”.
Sources describe the plans as “turning the dial” toward resuming his ordinary programme, including a gradual increase in hosting guests for engagements at the palace as summer approaches.
Plans for Easter, as with all of the King’s arrangements during his treatment, will be finalised at the last minute, with the palace not ruling out any last minute changes of plan to take in circumstances including the weather.
Buckingham Palace has not yet confirmed which members of the Royal family will attend. The contingent will be smaller than usual, in part to shield the King from infection risk and in part because of the absence of the Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children.
The Telegraph also understands that the Royal family aims to reassemble for a full show of support for Britain’s veterans at the 80th anniversary of D-Day, as the King begins to take “gentle steps” back towards his normal public duties.
The King and Prince of Wales will honour the sacrifices of the Second World War generation on the June 6 anniversary, with plans for senior members of the family to travel to Normandy.
The King is now “building back” to key engagements towards the summer, sources say, with plans underway for some in-person events once he receives medical clearance.
He has this week undertaken his largest engagement since he was diagnosed with cancer, hosting a dozen religious leaders for an interfaith roundtable at Buckingham Palace.
Aides have said the King’s attendance at any event is “to be hoped for and planned for rather than assumed,”dependent on his health.
His diary is being sketched out around two key events: Trooping the Colour, which celebrates his official birthday and falls on June 15 this year, and the D-Day event on June 6.
The Prince of Wales also plans to take part in events to honour D-Day veterans, with the recognition of their service said to be “very important” to him.
The Prince, whose wife has also been undergoing treatment for cancer, will resume his programme of engagements in mid-April after he and the Princess have spent the Easter school holidays with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The Princess will not attend any public engagements until her own medical team rule that she is well enough.
On Good Friday, the Duchess of Edinburgh was photographed enjoying a solo carriage ride in the grounds of Windsor Castle. She and her husband have taken on additional Royal duties since the King’s illness was announced, with the Duke visiting Scotland this week alongside the Princess Royal.
The full D-Day event schedule, organised by the Ministry of Defence, has not yet been confirmed, but will include a ceremony at the new British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer, Normandy.
The King “unveiled” the memorial via video in 2021, during lockdown, saying the permanent tribute to such “remarkable individuals” had been long overdue. Then, veterans were unable to be in Normandy in person due to travel restrictions. 
This year, organisers are well aware that the 80 year anniversary will be one of the last chances to celebrate such a milestone while those who served are still here to see it.
It is not yet known whether the King will be able to join them in France, subject to his health and the perceived infection risk.
He also hopes to make an appearance at Trooping the Colour, where the Royal family traditionally gather on the Buckingham Palace balcony for a flypast. He may choose to use a carriage rather than travel through London on horseback.
On Thursday the Ambassador of Moldova, Ruslan Bolbocean, presented his credentials to King Charles during a private audience at Buckingham Palace.

It is likely to be some time before he can participate in large-scale engagements such as investitures or full public walkabouts.
This week, the King has been represented by the Queen at the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral, where she deputised to hand out Maundy money to pensioners for the first time.
The Queen, who also recently travelled to the Isle of Man and Belfast for solo trips, has continued her programme of engagements throughout the King’s treatment.
She has received a noticeably warm welcome by crowds, with many sending their well wishes to the King. One palace source noted that the Queen’s determination to carry on with her duties seemed to have “cemented her role at the heart of national life”.
Following the church service, the King and Queen will take an Easter break.