King Charles appears in high spirits as he steps out for the first time since leaving hospital to attend Sunday service with Queen Camilla in Sandringham

King Charles beamed and waved as he walked into St Mary Magdalene Church this morning for Sunday service.

The monarch, 74, looked in high spirits ahead of the service at the Sandringham Estate Chapel, following a brief hospital stay last week for treatment on an enlarged prostate.

Stepping out for the first time since greeting fans outside the London Clinic after being discharged on Monday, the Monarch donned his trademark camel coat and carried an umbrella.

He looked fit as he returned to Sunday service for the first time in several weeks.

Charles was flanked by Queen Camilla, 76, who looked stylish in a wide-brimmed fur hat, a navy coat and a pale blue scarf.

King Charles and Queen Camilla looked in high spirits as they walked to St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate this morning

King Charles and Queen Camilla looked in high spirits as they walked to St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate this morning

A group of around 20 supporters gathered to wish the 75-year-old king well on his visit to the 18th century church.

But they were left disappointed to find that the gates to the camping ground outside the church were locked, meaning they could not reach the rope-off path where spectators are usually allowed to stand.

This meant that they had to watch the King at a distance of about 150 meters.

Today is King Charles’ first Sunday service for three weeks; he was still being monitored in the London Clinic last Sunday and the week before he chose to rest before the routine procedure.

The monarch, 74, waved to well-wishers as he walked through the Norfolk estate, appearing in good spirits after his hospital stay

The monarch, 74, waved to well-wishers as he walked around the Norfolk estate, appearing in good spirits after his hospital stay

Charles and Camilla were greeted outside the church by Sandringham rector, the Revd Canon Paul Williams who shook him warmly by the hand and gave him a reassuring pat on the arm.

The rector exchanged a few words with the King, and Charles replied with a smile on his face that gave the impression that all was well.

Part-time engineering company worker Kay Miller from Witchford, Cambridgeshire, who saw Charles walking to church today, said: ‘He looked fine.

“I saw him going to church earlier in January when we could stand along the aisle as he walked by, and he looks the same now.

‘I got the chance to see him today. He seems to be back to his old self, and it’s brilliant to see him up and about. He certainly seems to be better.’

Kay’s friend David Patterson, from Haddenham, Cambridgeshire, added: ‘It’s great that he walked to church. He is not a young person, but it shows that he is fit.’

Royal fan Annabel Young, 27, from Ipswich, Suffolk, who was with her three-year-old son Jasper Davies-Young, said: ‘It was so nice to see him back to his old routine.

“It’s just a shame we couldn’t get through the locked gates and had to make do with seeing him from afar.”

After the service, the King and Queen were escorted out of the church by the rector and his assistant after the hour-long service.

The royal couple spent a few seconds chatting with the two white-robed clerics before saying their goodbyes and walking back to Sandringham House for lunch.

The king turned to admire an array of snowdrops before walking through a gate into the private grounds of his home on his 20,000-acre Norfolk estate.

It comes after Queen Camilla stepped up her royal engagements while King Charles took some time off to recover from his procedure.

She had a busy week, carrying out several royal engagements while her husband recovered at home after leaving the London clinic, where the Princess of Wales was also recuperating.

Mother-of-three Kate, 41, is taking time off to recover from planned abdominal surgery earlier this month and is not expected to return to royal duties until after Easter.

As a result, Prince William also briefly postponed his royal duties to be there for Kate and their three children, Prince George (10), Princess Charlotte (8) and Prince Louis (5).

With three working royals out of action, Queen Camilla has led the royal charge as the most senior royal currently performing engagements.