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King Charles Shares 'Great Sadness' at Missing a Staple on the Royal Calendar amid Cancer Treatment

Queen Camilla stepped in for her husband at the Royal Maundy Service, which takes place each year before Easter

<p>BBC/Sky/ITV News</p> King Charles recorded his Easter message at Buckingham Palace

BBC/Sky/ITV News

King Charles recorded his Easter message at Buckingham Palace

King Charles is stressing the importance of "friendship" for those who are "in need" this Easter.

In a recorded audio message for the Royal Maundy Service on Thursday, the King, 75, also expressed his "great sadness" that he could not attend the ancient event while he is undergoing cancer treatment.

"The Maundy Service has a very special place in my heart," said King Charles, whose message also comes amid his daughter-in-law Kate Middleton’s cancer treatment. The Princess of Wales, 42, announced her cancer diagnosis in a personal video message shared on Friday.

“We need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need,” the monarch continued.

“We should serve and care for each other,” he added in the message, which was recorded at Buckingham Palace in mid-March, according to BBC News.

<p>Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty</p> King Charles and Queen Camilla at last year's Royal Maundy Service at York Minster

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

King Charles and Queen Camilla at last year's Royal Maundy Service at York Minster

Related: Kate Middleton and King Charles Bond amid Cancer Diagnoses: 'The Daughter He Never Had' (Exclusive)

King Charles’ Easter message — which included a Bible reading — was played at the annual maundy service at Worcester Cathedral on Thursday. Queen Camilla made royal history by becoming the first consort to lead the ancient service, as her husband has postponed the majority of his public-facing duties while receiving his cancer treatment.

Commenting on his absence in his message, King Charles reiterated the pledge he made during his Coronation "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."

The service saw Queen Camilla distributing gifts of "Maundy Money" on behalf of herself and King Charles in a tradition that dates back to 600 A.D.

The special coins recognize those over the age of 70 for outstanding Christian service to their communities, and the number of recipients matches the age of the monarch.

This year, 75 men and 75 women received the gift to thank them for their community contributions. In his message, King Charles noted that the individuals were "wonderful examples" of "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."

<p>The Royal Mind</p> Maundy Money distributed by King Charles in 2023

The Royal Mind

Maundy Money distributed by King Charles in 2023

Related: King Charles Holds Meeting with Faith Leaders in First Appearance Since Kate Middleton's Cancer News

While King Charles is missing Thursday's service in Worcester, Buckingham Palace has confirmed that he will attend the traditional Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle this Sunday.

The Royal Maundy Service was a highlight on Queen Elizabeth's calendar throughout her 70 years on the throne. In addition to rarely missing the event, Queen Elizabeth made a major change to the traditional service — she decided early in her reign that Maundy money should not just be distributed to the people of London and started to travel to various cathedrals or abbeys to give gifts to local people.

In a touching tribute to her mother-in-law, Queen Camilla wore gold and sapphire flower brooches that belonged to the late monarch for Thursday's event.

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral on March 28, 2024

Samir Hussein/WireImage

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy Service at Worcester Cathedral on March 28, 2024

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Earlier this month, Queen Camilla gave an update on her husband’s health amid his cancer treatment as she stepped out in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

"He's doing very well. He was very disappointed he couldn't come," Queen Camilla said after a shop assistant at the Arcadia Delicatessen gave her a get-well card for King Charles, according to Hello! magazine.

Per the outlet, the Queen also playfully quipped about trying to keep her husband “in order” after someone joked about men "not being the best patients."

King Charles’ cancer diagnosis was revealed in a statement shared by Buckingham Palace on Feb 5. The statement came shortly after the monarch was admitted for treatment for an enlarged prostate at The London Clinic on Jan 26. His type of cancer has not been disclosed, but he does not have prostate cancer.

On Friday, Kate revealed that she is undergoing preventative chemotherapy after tests following her “planned abdominal surgery” on Jan. 16 "found cancer had been present."

Kate said the news had come as a “huge shock.”

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