Sat. Apr 20th, 2024
alert-–-king-charles-meets-the-ambassadors-of-burundi-and-moldova-at-buckingham-palace-as-camilla-stands-in-for-him-at-annual-maundy-service-where-he-delivered-a-pre-recorded-easter-address-to-the-congregationAlert – King Charles meets the ambassadors of Burundi and Moldova at Buckingham Palace as Camilla stands in for him at annual Maundy service where he delivered a pre-recorded Easter address to the congregation

King Charles met the ambassadors of Burundi and Moldova at Buckingham Palace today as the Queen stood in for him at the annual Royal Maundy Service.

His Majesty, who has stepped back from public engagements as he continues cancer treatment, separately met with recently appointed Epimeni Bapfinda of Burundi and Ruslan Bolbocean of Moldova.

Earlier, the King recorded a personal message which was played to a congregation at Worcester Cathedral, where the Royal Maundy Service was held in his absence.

He reaffirmed his coronation pledge ‘not to be served, but to serve’ with ‘my whole heart’. 

The message did not directly refer to the King and the Princess of Wales’ treatment for undisclosed types of cancer, but highlighted those who ‘extend the hand of friendship’ – likely to be interpreted as the nation’s response to the monarchy’s double health scare.

The major event in the royal calendar sees Maundy money – newly minted coins – distributed to community stalwarts by the head of state in recognition of their service, with the Queen deputising for the King in the ceremony, a first for a Queen Consort.

King Charles met the ambassadors of Burundi and Moldova at Buckingham Palace today as the Queen stood in for him at the annual Royal Maundy Service. Above: The King greets Burundi ambassador Epimeni Bapfinda

King Charles met the ambassadors of Burundi and Moldova at Buckingham Palace today as the Queen stood in for him at the annual Royal Maundy Service. Above: The King greets Burundi ambassador Epimeni Bapfinda

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral in the King's absence

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral in the King’s absence

Charles said in his address: ‘The act of worship, here in Worcester Cathedral, reminds me of the pledge I made at the beginning of the coronation service – to follow Christ’s example ‘not to be served but to serve’.

READ MORE: Cancer-stricken King Charles tells of ‘great sadness’ at missing traditional Maundy service: Monarch delivers pre-recorded Easter audio message of ‘friendship’ to Worcester Cathedral as Camilla attends in his absence to hand out gifts 

‘That I have always tried to do and continue to do, with my whole heart.

‘It is my special prayer today that Our Lord’s example of serving one another might continue to inspire us and to strengthen all our communities.’

The King has stepped back from large-scale public duties while receiving outpatient cancer treatment, and he spoke of his ‘great sadness’ at not being able to attend the service.

His message began with a Bible reading from the Gospel of John, which describes how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples – the root of the modern day Royal Maundy Service.

The Maundy Service, held on the Thursday before Easter Sunday, 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.

Charles added: ‘In this country we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare. 

‘But over and above these organisations and their selfless staff, we need and benefit greatly from those who extend the hand of friendship to us, especially in a time of need.

‘The 150 men and women who have been chosen today to receive the Maundy money from my wife are wonderful examples of such 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.’

Ruslan Bolbocean presents his credentials to King Charles III during a private audience at Buckingham Palace

The King shakes hands with Mr Bapfinda during their meeting today

The King shakes hands with Mr Bapfinda during their meeting today

Earlier this month Charles recorded the special message and Bible reading in the 18th Century Room at Buckingham Palace.

As Camilla arrived today she would have heard shouts of ‘Down With The Crown’ from protesters with Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state.

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

The King’s message comes as he prepares to attend church at St Goerge’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Easter Sunday with Camilla – his most significant public appearance since his diagnosis in early February.

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

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their family will be absent.

Kate was last seen at a public engagement on December 25, then underwent abdominal surgery in January, after which cancer was found.

The King is continuing private meetings and work on state business, and yesterday received Mohamed Nasheed, secretary general of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives during the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla holds the Nosegay bouquet as she poses with Yeomen of the Guard and religious representatives during the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla waves as she leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla waves as she leaves the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral today

Queen Camilla comes out to meet well-wishers in Worcester after attending the service today

Queen Camilla comes out to meet well-wishers in Worcester after attending the service today

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Queen Camilla attends the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral this afternoon

Republic, which campaigns for an elected head of state, had 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.’