King Charles’s 56 handshakes with the public show he is back where he belongs

Plans for the St George’s Chapel outing had been in flux until the last minute, in an operation nicknamed “Easter Lite”.

A smaller-than-usual contingent of the Royal family, including the Duke and Duchess of York, arrived at the chapel by car, before taking their seats inside, the King “slightly apart” from his family and the main congregation in the Sovereign’s Seat.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their three children, whose walk to church has been a fixture of the annual tradition in recent years, were missing, dealing with the Princess’s own treatment for cancer in private.

The service, on traditional Easter themes of the resurrection of Christ, ended with a rendition of God Save the King, heard outside the chapel by a small crowd who had been let into the grounds of the Castle as it became apparent the King would be able to greet them.

After the service, the King “popped his head” in to briefly say hello to members of his family who gathered in the Deanery for drinks, before heading outside.

It was part of a carefully choreographed morning, which saw him prioritise duty over leisure – skipping a low-key private catch-up with family and close friends in favour of a very public walkabout.

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