Prince Andrew Joins King Charles and Queen Camilla for Easter Service in Controversial Move

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Following medical advice, Charles and Camilla will be seated apart from other attendees during the service to reduce the risk of infection amid the monarch's cancer treatment

<p>JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty</p> Prince Andrew attends Easter service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty

Prince Andrew attends Easter service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

King Charles and Queen Camilla were joined by a smaller group of royal family members on Easter Sunday amid the monarch's cancer treatment.

Joining the royal couple for the Easter Mattins Service at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle were Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

Andrew's attendance comes one month after he faced backlash for leading the royal family at a memorial service honoring the late King Constantine of Greece.

Andrew, who is no longer a working royal, stepped back from his public duties in 2019 following his bombshell interview with the BBC about his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein (which inspired the upcoming Netflix movie Scoop). He was stripped of his military titles and patronages by his mother, Queen Elizabeth, in January 2022 after attempting to have Virginia Giuffre’s sexual assault lawsuit against him dismissed.

The Duke of York, 64, has denied any wrongdoing and settled with Giuffre out of court for an undisclosed amount in February 2022.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Prince Andrew attends Easter service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

Chris Jackson/Getty

Prince Andrew attends Easter service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

Despite stepping away from public engagements, Prince Andrew has continued to join the royals for family events such as holiday church outings, funerals and other services. He also attended the coronation of his brother King Charles in May 2023.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty </p> Sarah Ferguson arrives for Easter service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

Chris Jackson/Getty

Sarah Ferguson arrives for Easter service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

The royal family traditionally kicks off the Easter holiday by attending church at St. George’s Chapel, but a few central members were missing. Kate Middleton, Prince William and their kids Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8, and Prince Louis, 5, did not join the outing as they typically do following Princess Kate’s public announcement about her cancer diagnosis.

It's understood that the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children are spending the long weekend privately, and Easter falls a little more than a week after Princess Kate shared the "shock" news about her health in a personal video message released on March 22.

<p>Hollie Adams - WPA Pool/Getty</p> King Charles and Queen Camilla attend Easter church service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

Hollie Adams - WPA Pool/Getty

King Charles and Queen Camilla attend Easter church service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

Related: Kate Middleton's Cancer Rocks the Monarchy — What Happens Next? (Exclusive)

"We hope that you will understand that, as a family, we now need some time, space and privacy while I complete my treatment… for now I must focus on making a full recovery," the Princess of Wales said in the video filmed in the garden of Windsor Castle, not far from her family’s home at Adelaide Cottage.

The royal family’s trips to church for major holidays like Easter and Christmas are technically private family events rather than royal duties, but this year’s plans were expected to be pared down in light of guidance around the King’s health. The Easter service was said to be planned for a smaller scale than usual, following doctors' advice to limit the number of people the King should come in contact with during his treatment.

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Princess Anne arrives for Easter service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

Chris Jackson/Getty

Princess Anne arrives for Easter service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

Buckingham Palace announced on Feb. 5 that the sovereign was diagnosed with cancer following surgery for a benign enlarged prostate and would postpone public-facing duties while receiving treatment. The type of cancer has not been disclosed, but a spokesman confirmed it is not prostate cancer.

Related: Kate Middleton and Prince William's Family Skip Royal Easter Outing amid Her Cancer Treatment

<p>Chris Jackson/Getty</p> Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh attend Easter church service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

Chris Jackson/Getty

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh and Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh attend Easter church service at Windsor Castle on March 31, 2024

In adherence to medical advice, the royal couple will be seated separately from other attendees during the Easter church service to reduce the risk of infection. As directed by King Charles's doctors, neither he nor the Queen will participate in a reception or host a private family lunch after the service.

A royal source tells PEOPLE the monarch is "progressing well" in his treatment, and there is an "amplified confidence" in the light of the sophisticated treatment he is receiving.

"He is positive, the doctors are optimistic," the source says.

<p>Samir Hussein/WireImage</p> King Charles and Queen Camilla lead the royal family's walk to church on Christmas at Sandringham on December 25, 2023.

Samir Hussein/WireImage

King Charles and Queen Camilla lead the royal family's walk to church on Christmas at Sandringham on December 25, 2023.

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The royal family was out in full force on Christmas Day in December 2023, where King Charles and Queen Camilla led the charge to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Norfolk. It was the second Christmas of King Charles’ reign, and extra special as King Charles reportedly invited Queen Camilla’s family to celebrate at the royal residence of Sandringham for the first time.

In years past, Camilla would leave in the afternoon to spend time with her son Tom Parker Bowles, daughter Laura Lopes and their children, so the idea of everyone coming together would create a modern family feel.

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