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King Charles leads royal family on Easter Sunday as William, Kate and kids are absent

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(WINDSOR, England) — King Charles III stepped out Sunday for the royal family’s traditional Easter Sunday service at St. George’s Chapel.

Charles, 75, walked alongside his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, as they made their way to church, marking a rare public appearance for the king since being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

After the service, the King and Queen thanked members of the congregation, workers and members of the general public in attendance. The Queen Consort wore a green dress by Anna Valentine, a hat made by Philip Treacy, and an emerald and diamond brooch formerly owned by Queen Elizabeth II, according to Buckingham Palace.

The royal family’s appearance at the Easter Mattins Service was smaller this year due to the absence of Charles’s son, Prince William, his wife Kate, the Princess of Wales, and their three children, Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte.

The family’s absence from Sunday’s service — which they attended last year — was expected after Kate, 42, announced earlier this month that she had been diagnosed with cancer and had begun preventative chemotherapy as treatment.

In a video message announcing her diagnosis, Kate asked for privacy for her family, saying, “We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment. My work has always brought me a deep sense of joy and I look forward to being back when I am able, but for now I must focus on making a full recovery.”

Kensington Palace also said at the time that the Wales family would not attend the Easter Sunday service and that Kate would return to her royal duties when she is “cleared to do so by her medical team.”

Kate’s last major public appearance was on Christmas Day, when she and William and their kids joined royal family members in attending church at Sandringham, the king’s estate in Norfolk, England.

In mid-January, Kate underwent planned abdominal surgery and was hospitalized for nearly two weeks. The palace said at the time that Kate would step back from public duties until at least Easter.

That timeline was delayed further after Kate shared her cancer diagnosis. The cancer was discovered in post-operative tests after her abdominal surgery, she said.

“This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” Kate said in her video message, shared on March 19. “As you can imagine, this has taken time. It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be ok.”

She continued, “As I have said to them; I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.”

Kate’s video was shared on George, Louis and Charlotte’s last day of school before their Easter break.

William is also taking time away from public duties until his children return to school later in April, according to the palace.

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