With 'Great Sadness,' Charles Misses Traditional Service

Message from Charles was played before Queen Camilla handed out the 'Maundy money'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2024 9:30 AM CDT
With 'Great Sadness,' Charles Misses Traditional Service
A view of the red purses ahead of Britain's Queen Camilla distributing the Maundy Money in Worcester Cathedral, in Worcester, England, Thursday, March 28, 2024.   (Justin Tallis, Pool Photo via AP)

In a prerecorded message played for the congregation at Worcester Cathedral on Thursday, King Charles III spoke of his "great sadness" at missing the traditional Maundy Thursday pre-Easter event. In his first public remarks since Princess Kate disclosed her cancer diagnosis, the king spoke of the importance of friendship and his coronation pledge "to follow Christ's example 'not to be served but to serve.'"

  • The king has stepped back from public appearances since he was diagnosed with cancer in February, but the palace says he will attend an Easter Sunday service at Windsor Castle, NBC News reports.

  • In the remarks played at the cathedral, the king, who's the official head of the Church of England as well as the UK's head of state, read from the Bible and spoke of the special place the service has in his heart. "In this country we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare. But over and above these organizations and their selfless staff, we need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need," he said, according to an official transcript.
  • The king didn't mention Princess Kate's health in his remarks, but "royal watchers may interpret his words in the context of the ongoing family health crisis," NBC notes.
  • The Royal Maundy Service, which commemorates the Last Supper and Jesus washing the feet of the apostles, dates from the 13th century, the BBC reports. With the king not present, Queen Camilla handed out purses of specially minted coins, known as Maundy money, to 150 senior citizens—75 men and 75 women, because the king is 75 years old. Charles said they'd been selected for "going way beyond the call of duty and of giving so much of their lives to the service of others in their communities."
(More King Charles III stories.)

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