King Charles is set to deliver a personal message to the nation this Easter.

He will stress the importance of acts of friendship “especially in a time of need” in the wake of his and the Princess of Wales’ cancer diagnosis.

Charles’ pre-recorded audio will be his first public words since Kate revealed she was undergoing chemotherapy.

The message will be broadcast in his absence at a Royal Maundy service in Worcester Cathedral on Thursday (March 28).

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”.

Will the King address his or Kate’s health in Easter message?

The King doesn’t directly refer to his or his daughter-in-law’s health in the message but his words will be interpreted as reflecting on the nation’s response to his and Kate’s challenges as they continue treatment for cancer.

Last Friday (March 22), the princess released an emotional video message revealing she has started a course of preventative chemotherapy.

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

Last month, the King said 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”.

While he receives outpatient treatment, the King has stepped back from large-scale public duties and the Queen is deputising for him at the ancient Royal Maundy ceremony on Thursday.

King Charles prepares to attend church on Easter Sunday

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

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 in what will be his most significant public appearance since his diagnosis.

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

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What is the Royal Maundy service?

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.