As a Precaution, King Charles Sits Apart From Royal Family During Easter Service

The monarch's cancer treatments can make public appearances risky.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter Mattins Service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024 in Windsor, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

King Charles was careful to protect himself during his first official public appearance since revealing he has been diagnosed with an unspecified type of cancer.

On Sunday, March 31, the monarch stepped into the public eye to attend Easter church services at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The King was accompanied by Queen Camilla and numerous members of the royal family, including Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, as well as embattled Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, Duchess of York.

To protect the monarch from the possibility of infection as he continues cancer treatments, King Charles sat away from members of the royal family, US Weekly reports. The monarch sat in what is known as the "sovereign seat," located near the front of the alter, while his family sat in the stalls.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter Mattins Service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024 in Windsor, England.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla greet people after attending the Easter Mattins Service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024 in Windsor, England.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people undergoing chemotherapy treatments are more likely to get infections. Both Cancer and chemotherapy damage the immune system by "reducing the number of infection-fighting white blood cells," the CDC says, causing a condition known as neutropenia.

The Telegraph was among the first media outlets to report that the King would be "isolated from the rest of the congregation" during Sunday's Easter services in order to ensure his health and safety.

As an extra precaution, the King and Queen are not expected to attend a reception or host a private family gathering following church services either—a break from tradition, but undoubtedly a wise decision in keeping with orders from the King's doctors and medical team.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive to attend the Easter Mattins Service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024 in Windsor, England.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla arrive to attend the Easter Mattins Service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024 in Windsor, England.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

To royal fans' delight, however, King Charles and Queen Camilla did take an impromptu "walkabout," stopping to "thank members of the congregation, estate workers, and general public who had kindly turned out to show their support,” Buckingham Palace spokesperson told Us Weekly.

Inside the chapel, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, reportedly began services by "encouraging the public to pray for the King" and Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, who was absent from the proceeding following her emotional announcement that she has also been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing preventative chemotherapy treatment, Us Weekly reports.

“In each of our lives there are moments that change us forever,” the Archbishop reportedly said. “We pray for her and the King in their dignified response and we pray for all those who are suffering the same way.”

Danielle Campoamor

Danielle Campoamor is an award-winning freelance writer covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mental health, politics, and feminist issues. She has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, and more.