Britain's Queen Camilla has received well-wishes, flowers and pictures at her recent public appearances for the two cancer patients in the royal family; King Charles III and his daughter-in-law, the Princess of Wales. Camilla observes the dates that are circled as significant in the monarch's annual calendar in a friendly and upright manner. At Easter this includes, above all, a visit to church on “Maundy Thursday”, an alms service that is even more symbolic than the more private church Easter celebration on Easter Sunday.

Johannes Leithäuser

Political correspondent for the UK and Ireland.

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    In front of the portal of Worcester Cathedral and previously during a visit to the market in Shrewsbury, the audience received the monarch with applause and goodwill in which a new sympathy for the strokes of fate in the royal family was also noticeable. And Camilla, who for many years was considered a non-person in the eyes of the British public because she was often blamed for the breakdown of the marriage of Charles and his first wife Diana, is now undisputedly accepted in her role as the royal family's most important public representative .

    William and his family retire for the holidays

    This is helped by the fact that the heir to the throne, Prince William, is currently primarily focusing on his family due to the illness of his wife Catherine. The Princess's public announcement about her "preventive chemotherapy" was scheduled for after the start of the Easter holidays because the parents first wanted to inform their three children George, Charlotte and Louis about their mother's continued illness before it was made known to the public became.

    Protecting the children and the strength that family solidarity provides also determine their next few weeks. The heir to the throne's family has retreated to Anmer Hall, their own house on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, for the school holidays - the entire royal family usually spends the Christmas period on the country estate. So William, Catherine and their children will be missing from the usual (informal) church procession to George's Chapel in Windsor on Easter Sunday. The king, on the other hand, has let it be known that he wants to attend the Easter Sunday service and show himself to the public in this way - with the caveat that whether this happens will depend on the day.

    Since starting his cancer treatment almost two months ago, King Charles has tried to remain present as a monarch, even if he has to avoid encounters with a large number of people to avoid the risk of infection. At high celebrations, such as the Commonwealth Annual Celebration or now Maundy Thursday, he sends greetings and short speeches via video or audio recording. Buckingham Palace documents the performance of more everyday representative duties, such as the accreditation of new ambassadors or consultations with charitable organizations, with photos. For example, Charles can be seen in the morning suit, i.e. the tailcoat jacket with striped trousers, when he accepts the credentials from the new ambassador of Burundi - who hands it to him with his arms outstretched, keeping a distance of one meter.

    Other members show a strong presence

    The adjustments and changes forced by the condition of the king and his daughter-in-law are drawing new attention to the monarchy's representational calendar - and it is noticeable that many traditions are not as ironclad as they seem (or should be), but have always been adapted to the circumstances or subjected to new intentions. This applies, for example, to the almsgiving on Maundy Thursday, which was established in England in 1210 by King John - as a gesture of humility based on the washing of Christ's feet. In the Middle Ages, monarchs themselves used this opportunity to wash the feet of poor people, but the custom died down towards the end of the 17th century. It was only almost 100 years ago that George V revived him and for the first time distributed alms money to as many needy people as he was alive. Today, the Maundy money is mainly given to representatives who are involved in volunteer social work, and the service no longer takes place in Westminster Abbey, but at different locations around the country.

    Furthermore, the King and Catherine's indisposition provides other members of the family with the opportunity and obligation to be more present. This applies to the King's already tireless sister, Princess Royal Anne, but also to his youngest brother Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, and his wife Sophie. Occasionally, new pairings are formed - like at a reception for Korean War veterans at Buckingham Palace, where Anne and Sophie acted as hosts together.

    And although Charles made it clear right at the beginning of his reign that he wanted to “streamline” the royal family, i.e. reduce the number of its full-time representatives, the “working royals,” he also took counteracting actions, for example by upgrading Edward's role as Duke of Edinburgh .

    Despite this, the British tabloid press is now constantly speculating as to whether it is now time to bring Prince Harry, the king's younger son, who lives with his wife Meghan in California, back to court. But these speculations are often immediately followed by public surveys that are supposed to show that Harry and Meghan still occupy the very last places in the popularity scale of the British public.