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King Charles praises 'kindness' and friendship 'in times of need' ahead of his first public appearance since his cancer diagnosis

King Charles III in June 2018.
King Charles III.WPA Pool/Getty Images
  • King Charles III gave public remarks via an audio message at the Royal Maundy Service on Thursday.

  • Buckingham Palace announced in February that Charles is undergoing treatment for cancer.

  • King Charles and Queen Camilla will attend an Easter Sunday service this weekend.

King Charles III spoke about friendship and kindness in a series of remarks before his first public appearance since announcing his cancer diagnosis.

Charles, 75, shared his sentiments via a recorded audio message played at the Royal Maundy Service, an annual event that takes place on the Thursday before Easter Sunday, according to Royal Central. March 2023 was the first time Charles attended the service as a monarch, but he skipped this year's service while undergoing cancer treatment.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maudy Service in 2023.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla attending the Royal Maundy Service in 2023.CHARLOTTE GRAHAM/Getty Images

Buckingham Palace announced in February that Charles was diagnosed with cancer and would step back from public engagements while recovering.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, it is, for me, a great sadness that I cannot be with you all today. The Maundy Service has a very special place in my heart," Charles said in comments obtained by Royal Central.

He then touched on the importance of friendship.

"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," Charles said.

Charles then addressed the people chosen to receive Maundy Money. The royal family's official website said that "local pensioners" receive money from the monarch to commemorate the Last Supper when Jesus washed the Apostles' feet.

"The 150 men and women who have been chosen today to receive the Maundy Money from my wife are wonderful examples of such kindness; of going way beyond the call of duty and of giving so much of their lives to the service of others in their communities," Charles said. "This 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."

He added: "It is my special prayer today that Our Lord's example of serving one another might continue to inspire us and to strengthen all our communities."

King Charles and Queen Camilla on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
King Charles and Queen Camilla. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Although Charles did not attend Thursday's service, Buckingham Palace told the Associated Press that he and Queen Camilla will attend an Easter Sunday service at Windsor Castle's chapel.

Representatives for Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales
Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales.Andy Cheung/Getty Images

Charles' remarks come after Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, decided to share her own cancer diagnosis with the public last week. Middleton's video announcement came after weeks of speculation over her health and marital status.

Middleton, 42, called the diagnosis a "huge shock," and she's undergoing "preventive chemotherapy."

"It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I've had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful," she said.

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