Royal Family’s Easter Sunday in full: Guests, seating plan and adjustments for King’s health

By Staff

This Sunday’s service will mark King Charles’ first appearane in the public eye in weeks – but there will be some changes in place to protect his health

King Charles is set to make his first public appearance at a Royal event this weekend since his cancer diagnosis was revealed almost two months ago.

The 75-year-old will lead a smaller list of royal attendees at the “sacred” Easter Sunday church service held at Windsor Castle. He has also agreed changes to the traditional Easter diary to protect his health.

In early February, the King stepped back from public appearances after announcing he would undergo treatment for an undisclosed type of cancer. In the meantime, he has continued carrying out his state duties, including meetings with the Prime Minister, as well as reviewing and signing government documents.

This Sunday’s service will mark Charles’ first appearance in the public eye in weeks, but royal author Robert Jobson has claimed the monarch will be haunted by the “ghosts of Easter’s past”.

Jobson said: “The estrangement of Prince Harry and Meghan adds another layer of complexity amid all the unresolved tensions within the family. All eyes therefore will be on the King and how he copes with this public outing as he faces his own cancer diagnosis with courage and conviction.”

Royals attending the 2024 Easter Sunday service

  • Buckingham Palace has confirmed the King and Queen will attend the Easter Sunday service, joined by other senior royals.

  • The Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children will not be attending as Kate, 42, undergoes preventative chemotherapy.

  • Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not attend as they continue to live in California since stepping down as senior royals in 2020.

  • Prince Andrew and his daughters are expected to attened, but it not yet known whether his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson will be there.

  • The Princess Royal and her family will attend, as well as the new Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, Edward and Sophie.

Adjustments for the King’s health

In an approach called ‘Easter Lite’, the King will not attend a post-service reception or host a private family lunch. The event will also see less royal attendees than usual to “shield the King from infection risk”. Charles and Queen Camilla will walk to and from the chapel entering through the Galilee Porch, where the King will be able to wave and greet a small crowd from a distance if the weather is appropriate.

Step by step Easter Sunday schedule

  1. Charles and Queen Camilla will walk to St George’s Chapel. They will enter through the Galilee Porch, where they will wave and greet a small crowd.

  2. The King and Queen will take their seats further away from the rest of the congregation to protect Charles’ health. He is expected to be seen leaving the church with the Queen.

  3. Charles will not attend a post-service reception or host a private family lunch.

  4. The King and Queen will take an Easter break after the church service.

Seating plan

In an arrangement signed by his medical team, Charles will sit apart from the rest of the Royal Family at this year’s service to help protect his health. Charles and Camilla will be seated slightly further from relatives in an “acceptable environment at this stage of his illness”. The seating plan signifies “gentle steps” towards a full return to royal duties in the summer, The Telegraph said.

Jobson, author of Our King: Charles III – The Man and the Monarch Revealed, said Charles faces an Easter shadowed “by the spectre of anniversaries of loss”. Speaking to The Sun, he said: “For the King, these Easter anniversaries are a time of personal sadness and reflection. His late father Prince Philip, and his beloved grandmother, the Queen Mother, will hang heavy over the day, the ghosts of Easter’s past. We are nearing the third anniversary of Prince Philip’s death, and 22 years ago today the Queen Mother passed away, just weeks after Margot, her daughter Princess Margaret, aged 71, on February 9.

“There is, too, the lingering absence of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles’s beloved mother, who died aged 96 in September 2022, and always held Easter so close to her heart. This year then, Easter for Charles and the Royal Family will not merely be a religious observance but a profound moment of reflection, commemorating those no longer with us.”

He added the King will pay a silent homage to his father, mother and grandmother who are all at rest in St George’s Chapel. Jobson continued: “She of course succumbed to the weariness of ‘extreme old age’ after months of battling a persistent cold. Her death certificate, a testament to a life that stretched over 101 years and 238 days, marked her as the longest-lived member of the British Royal Family.

“In the solitude of loss, the King will pay a silent homage to his father, mother and grandmother who are all at rest in St George’s Chapel, when he worships tomorrow. His armour worn but unbowed, Charles faces his own battlefields this Easter.”

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