King Charles speaks of 'great sadness' at not being able to attend Maundy Thursday service

King Charles feels a "great sadness" at not being able to attend the Maundy Thursday service.

The 75-year-old monarch - who is currently undergoing treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer - was not able to attend the annual pre-Easter ceremony at Worcester Cathedral on Thursday (28.03.23) and in a rare pre-recorded audio message stressed the importance of "friendship" to the nation.

He said: "Ladies and gentlemen, it is for me a great sadness that I cannot be with you all today. The Monty service has a very special place in my heart.

It has its origin in the life of our Lord, who will note before his disciples, and to their great surprise, wash their travel-weary feet.

"And as we have just heard, in doing so, he deliberately gave to them and to us all, an example of how we should serve and care for each other. In this country, we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare.

"In this country, we are blessed by all the different services that exist for our welfare. But over and above these organizations 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 King and his wife Queen Camilla have chosen 150 people to reward money to after exhibiting "wonderful examples of such kindness" in life and explained that the message of the religious ceremony reminds him of the pledge he made the country when he acceded to the throne in September 2022 following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth.

He added: "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.

"This 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.

"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. May God bless you all this Easter."