Britain’s royal family has had a double health scare as King Charles III faces treatment for an enlarged prostate and his daughter-in-law Catherine, Princess of Wales, recuperates from abdominal surgery.
Separate announcements came within 90 minutes of each other from Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace, in a rare show of transparency from royal officials about personal health matters.
The king, 75, is due in hospital next week, while Catherine, often known as Kate, was admitted to a private London clinic on Tuesday.
She now faces up to two weeks in hospital and several months’ recuperation from the operation, which the palace said was not cancer-related.
King Charles has thrown himself into his role as king after succeeding his mother Queen Elizabeth II on her death in September 2022, at a time when most men of his age have retired.
He is head of state of 14 other countries outside the United Kingdom, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and is head of the 56-member Commonwealth, which comprises 2.4 billion people.
He is also Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican communion.
His last public appearance was with other senior royals, including Kate, at a Christmas Day service at his Sandringham estate in eastern England.
“In common with thousands of men each year, The King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate,” the palace statement read.
“His Majesty’s condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure. The King’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation.”
Benign prostate enlargement is common in men aged over 50 and is not normally considered a serious threat to health or an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
If the prostate gland is enlarged, it can put pressure on the bladder and urethra, affecting urination.
Causes of prostate enlargement are unknown but are thought to be linked to hormonal changes with age, according to the UK’s National Health Service.
King Charles was keen to share details of his diagnosis to encourage other men to get checked if they have similar symptoms, UK royal correspondents said.
Kate — one of the most popular and photographed members of the royal family — is married to King Charles’s eldest son and heir, Prince William.
Her surgery was “successful and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for ten to fourteen days, before returning home to continue her recovery”, a statement read.
“Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter (on March 31).”
In the latest polling she is the third most popular living royal, with a 63 percent public approval rating, behind William (68 percent) and King Charles III’s sister Princess Anne (67 percent).
Queen Elizabeth II remains the most popular, with 75 percent, according to YouGov. The king’s rating was 51 percent.
Kate, 42, is frequently seen alongside William, 41, with whom she has three young children — Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five.
But she is increasingly undertaking solo public engagements, particularly in her key areas of interest such as early years education.
At The London Clinic, one of the UK’s largest private hospitals, two police officers stood guard at the main entrance as photographers and film crews gathered.
Kensington Palace added: “The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate.
“She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private.
“Kensington Palace will, therefore, only provide updates on Her Royal Highness’ progress when there is significant new information to share.
“The Princess of Wales wishes to apologise to all those concerned for the fact that she has to postpone her upcoming engagements. She looks forward to reinstating as many as possible, as soon as possible.”
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