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King Charles is all smiles in first solo public outing since Prince Andrew named in Epstein documents

The monarch laughed and chatted with families waiting outside St Mary Magdalene Church


King Charles after the morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, on Sunday morning © Geoff Robinson
Nicky Morris
TV and film writer
January 7, 2024
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King Charles was in high spirits as he attended the Sunday morning church service at Sandringham in Norfolk on Sunday. 

The monarch could be seen wrapped up warm in a long tan winter coat as he headed to St Mary Magdalene Church. 

King Charles after the morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, on Sunday morning © Geoff Robinson
King Charles waved to the crowds after attending St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, on Sunday morning

The 75-year-old was also pictured laughing and chatting with families waiting for the King's arrival behind the rope line. In one touching photo, he spoke with two young boys who were sitting in a mini Land Rover which featured the number plate "W1LL1AM". 

While Charles is usually accompanied by Queen Camilla on his church outings, his wife was not pictured during the visit. Instead, Charles was joined by Lady Susan Hussey, the former lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II. He was later seen being greeted by The Reverend Canon Dr Paul Williams ahead of the Sunday service. 

King Charles III talks to Simon and Georgina Ward and their sons William and Oliver after attending a Sunday church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. Picture date: Sunday January 7, 2024.© Geoff Robinson
King Charles III chatted to Simon and Georgina Ward and their sons William and Oliver

It came after King Charles and Queen Camilla attended the New Year's Eve service last week, as well as the traditional church service on Christmas Day, along with several other members of the royal family. 

WATCH: King Charles and Queen Camilla lead Sandringham church arrivals
King Charles III talks to Simon and Georgina Ward and their sons William and Oliver after attending a Sunday church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk. Picture date: Sunday January 7, 2024.© Geoff Robinson
William and Oliver brought along their mini Land Rover

The Sandringham estate no doubt holds a special place in the King's heart as the late Queen regularly attended Sunday services whilst staying there. 

Charles' latest church visit marks the first time he has been seen since Prince Andrew was named in the US court documents pertaining to Jeffrey Epstein.

Charles after the morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, on Sunday morning © Geoff Robinson
Charles was seen laughing with members of the public

In the unsealed documents, which related to the disgraced financier's sexual abuse, more than 100 people were named, although many of them are not accused of any wrongdoing.

Prince Andrew was named multiple times and in one document is accused of groping a woman's breast in 2001. Buckingham Palace has previously said the allegations are "categorically untrue", and the Duke of York has consistently denied any wrongdoing. 

Prince Andrew wearing a charcoal suit © Getty
Prince Andrew was named in the US court documents

In 2022, Prince Andrew reached an out-of-court settlement with Virginia Giuffre after she claimed he sexually assaulted her when she was 17. Andrew said that he had never met Giuffre and denied her allegations.

In May 2020, following criticism over his association with Epstein, Andrew resigned from public roles. Then in January 2022, the Prince was stripped of his military roles and use of the HRH title. 

MORE: Prince Andrew is staying put at Royal Lodge after months of speculation – report

Despite renewed attention over Prince Andrew's association with Epstein, 2024 is set to be an exciting year for King Charles, who is making his first trip to Australia and New Zealand as monarch. 

Charles and Camilla on Broadbeach, Australia in 2018© Getty
The King and Queen are set to visit Australia in late 2024

The visit will reportedly take place in October when King Charles and Queen Camilla attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Samoa.

While Buckingham Palace has yet to formally announce the visit, a government spokesman told The Australian newspaper that "the prime minister enjoys a warm relationship with the King and looks forward to welcoming His Majesty to Australia later this year".

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