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King hails importance of care and friendship in times of need

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King hails importance of care and friendship in times of need

Pre-recorded audio will be broadcast in his absence at a service on Thursday

The King is to stress the importance of acts of friendship “especially in a time of need” in a personal Easter message in the wake of his and the Princess of Wales’s cancer diagnosis.

Charles’ pre-recorded audio – his first public words since Kate revealed she was undergoing chemotherapy – will be broadcast in his absence at a Royal Maundy service in Worcester Cathedral on Thursday.

He will say how Jesus set an “example of how we should serve and care for each other”, and how as a nation “we need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need”.

While the King does not directly refer to his and his daughter-in-law’s health, his words will be interpreted as reflecting on the nation’s response to his and Kate’s challenges as they continue treatment for cancer.

The princess released an emotional video message last Friday revealing she has started a course of preventative chemotherapy.

She later was said to be “extremely moved” by the public support following her announcement.

Kate faced mounting online conspiracy theories about her whereabouts and her condition after retreating from public view to recuperate following major abdominal surgery in January.

The King told last month how he had been reduced to tears by the messages and cards of support he received from well-wishers.

The 75-year-old, who only acceded to the throne 18 months ago, will also reamplify his Coronation pledge “not to be served but to serve”.

He has recorded a Bible reading and, in his brief personal message, will describe the Maundy money recipients as “wonderful examples of such kindness” in “giving so much of their lives to the service of others in their communities”.

The King has stepped back from large-scale public duties while receiving outpatient treatment and the Queen is deputising for him at the ancient Royal Maundy ceremony on Thursday.

Charles was pictured sitting at his desk in Buckingham Palace’s 18th Century Room as he recorded his message in mid-March.

In front of him was a vase filled with spring flowers and two microphones ready to capture his words.

The King’s message comes as he prepares to attend church on Easter Sunday with Camilla – his most significant public appearance since his diagnosis.

But there will be a reduced number of royals present in order to avoid the health risks associated with large crowds.

The Royal Maundy service is a major fixture on the royal calendar and normally the monarch, who is the head of the Church of England, presents specially minted coins to people recognised for their community service.

The ceremony commemorates Jesus’s Last Supper when he washed the feet of his disciples as an act of humility the day before Good Friday.

Today sovereigns no longer wash the feet of the needy as they did in medieval times but 75 women and 75 men – signifying the King’s age – will be presented with two purses, one red and one white, filled with Maundy money.

The Maundy Money ceremony began in 1662, when Charles II gave out coins.

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, signalled it would have a small contingent of activists demonstrating in Worcester for the Queen’s visit.

The group said last week on social media: “We’re very sorry to hear about Kate’s cancer diagnosis and wish her a speedy recovery.”

But Graham Smith, chief executive of the group, said on Wednesday: “Unlike royalists, we don’t conflate the family with the institution. It’s the institution we’re protesting against this week.

“This is a campaign about principles, politics and reform.”

He added: “Republic’s campaign continues unabated and the protests will continue for as long as the monarchy is there.”

Picture: BBC/Sky/ITV News

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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