Charles appears in good spirits with guests at Buckingham Palace garden party

The King laughed and made jokes with guests as he attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

Charles spoke warmly with many of the attendees, including asking Olympic swimmers how long they could hold their breath, as he joined other royal family members at the event on Wednesday.

It comes after Charles returned to public-facing duties last week following his cancer diagnosis and marked the first anniversary of the King and Queen’s coronation.

Charles and Camilla stood with other family members as they listened to the National Anthem
Charles and Camilla stood with other family members as they listened to the National Anthem (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Around 8,000 people were in attendance for The Sovereign’s Garden Party on a sunny afternoon at Buckingham Palace.

Charles, wearing a grey suit and light blue waistcoat and tie, smiled to the gathered crowd as he entered the garden from the palace’s Carnarvon Room.

He emerged alongside Camilla who wore a white silk dress by Fiona Clare and a hat by Philip Treacy, as well as a heart-shaped diamond brooch that belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The pair were also joined by the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

All the family members stood at the garden steps to observe the national anthem, before Charles shook his top hat with joy when the crowd cheered loudly as the song ended.

Charles and Camilla then greeted sections of the crowd and groups of attendees separately.

Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
Charles and Camilla at the Buckingham Palace garden party (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

One attendee who spoke with Charles said “God bless you”, while another remarked: “Good to see you looking well.”

Among those he spoke to were Isabelle Thorpe, 23, and Kate Shortman, 22, who are due to compete for Team GB in artistic swimming at the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Both athletes were nominated by Swim England to attend the garden party, and Ms Shortman said the event had left her feeling “very patriotic”.

Ms Thorpe told the PA news agency: “He (Charles) did seem like he had a genuine interest and he said he was going to watch our event on TV in Paris, so that would be really cool. Hopefully he does!”

Ms Shortman added: “He was asking us about how long we could hold our breath, which is a very common question.”

Speaking to an attendee, the Queen said she was “enjoying the sunshine” and joked with another woman that she had “brought the good weather with you”.

Double amputee Tony Hudgell, nine, who was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the prevention of child abuse, was also due to attend the party, but a post shared by his mother Paula on X said they were stuck on the M20 motorway and would not make the event.

The Royal Family account responded: “Sorry to hear this, Tony! We were looking forward to seeing you too.

Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace
The King and Queen will both be attending further public-facing duties in the near future (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“Fancy trying again another day? Leave it with us…”

Charles and Camilla eventually reunited before spending some time in the Royal Tea Tent, and stopped to chat with more guests before returning inside the palace.

Anne, Edward and Sophie continued to mingle with guests after the pair had left.

The King has been receiving treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer since early February.

On a visit to the University College Hospital Macmillan Cancer Centre last week, Charles spoke of his “shock” at being diagnosed as he met fellow patients.

His appearance at the garden party comes after the Duke of Sussex confirmed he would be unable to see his father during a UK trip due to the King’s “full programme”.

Charles will continue public-facing duties when he meets military staff and their families at a training base for the Army’s Royal Engineers on Thursday.