King Charles Will Miss the 2024 Commonwealth Day Service

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Today is the annual Commonwealth Day, celebrating the Commonwealth. To mark the occasion, members of the royal family will attend Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey, including Queen Camilla, Prince William, and Princess Anne. However, one royal who will be notably absent is King Charles, who has stepped back from public duties as he receives treatment for his cancer diagnosis.

Though he won't be physically present in the Abbey, the King has recorded a video message to be broadcast during the Commonwealth Day Service. (He filmed the video in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle in February.)

"The seventy-fifth anniversary of The Commonwealth is a moment to reflect on the remarkable journey that our unique family of free and independent nations has made since 1949," King Charles begins his message. "Last year, The Bahamas celebrated its fiftieth anniversary of Independence, as Grenada has this year, and Papua New Guinea will next year. Each of these milestones—and many others like them—represent the fulfillment of countless aspirations and the achievement of such remarkable potential."

Elsewhere in his message, the King spoke about the importance of diversity, and uniting to face common challenges, like climate change. "We recognize today that our diversity is our greatest strength. The Commonwealth represents a third of humanity, from all regions of the world, with all the different experiences, knowledge, and aspirations that this brings," he says. "Wherever we live, we are united by the many challenges we face—whether it be climate change, the loss of Nature, or the social and economic changes that new technologies are bringing. Our diversity means that these challenges affect us all differently and that we experience their impacts in different ways. Their seriousness, however, is common to each one of us. All of this means that we must work together to understand each other’s perspectives, including the inequalities and injustices which still resonate to this day."

He ended his message by reflecting on his 75th birthday, and thanking those around the Commonwealth for well-wishes in light of his cancer diagnosis.

"Having recently celebrated my own seventy-fifth birthday, it warms my heart to reflect on the way the Commonwealth has been a constant throughout my own life – a precious source of strength, inspiration, and pride," he concludes. "In recent weeks, I have been most deeply touched by your wonderfully kind and thoughtful good wishes for my health and, in return, can only continue to serve you, to the best of my ability, throughout the Commonwealth. My belief in our shared endeavors and in the potential of our people remains as sure and strong as it has ever been. I have no doubt that we will continue to support one another across the Commonwealth as, together, we continue this vital journey."

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