King Charles III and Queen Camilla kick off the New Year with a church service in Sandringham

For the first time in two years, the royal family returned to Sandringham, and King Charles III started 2023 with a morning church service at St. Mary Magdalene Church

King Charles III is kicking off the new year by reintroducing an old tradition.

SANDRINGHAM, NORFOLK - JANUARY 01: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Camilla, Queen Consort and King Charles III are greeted by The Reverend Canon Dr Paul Williams as they attend the New Year's Day service at the Church of St Mary Magdalene on the Sandringham estate on January 1, 2023 in Sandringham, Norfolk. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

The monarch, 74, and his wife Camilla, Queen Consort, 75, attended a morning New Year’s Day service at Sandringham’s St. Mary Magdalene Church, a favorite annual custom of his mother, Queen Elizabeth.

King Charles III wore a blue suit and grey tweed coat with brown leather shoes when attending a church in the United Kingdom, while Camilla wore a black jacket, black boots, and a grey bonnet with feathers.

Outside the church on New Year’s Day, the two met with the Bishop of Norwich, Graham Usher, and the Reverend Canon, Dr. Paul Williams. King Charles III also addressed the throng gathered near St. Mary Magdalene Church and was captured talking to a group of onlookers while they snapped photos.

Due to the epidemic and Queen Elizabeth’s health, the royal family’s habit of attending a New Year’s Day service at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham was halted for two years. Before her death on September 8, 2022, the queen spent the holidays at Windsor Castle in 2021 and 2020.

The royal family returned to Sandringham for the 2022 holiday season. They left for church at St. Mary Magdalene on Christmas morning, greeting members of the public after the service, and then returning to Sandringham House for a traditional turkey lunch with all the trimmings.

“Charles has always loved Sandringham,” royal biographer Ingrid Seward adds. “Christmas is always about tradition in any household. He will maintain it the same as before.”

Monarch Charles III’s first Christmas speech as king recalled Queen Elizabeth’s frequent holiday speeches. He underlined the importance of getting together for the holidays and, like Queen Elizabeth, ended his remarks on a cheerful note.

“While Christmas is, of course, a Christian celebration, the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief,” he said. “So, whatever faith you have, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light, and with the true humility that lies in our service to others, that I believe we can find hope for the future. Let us, therefore, celebrate it together and cherish it always.”

King Charles III’s coronation is scheduled for May 6.