King Charles III is set to undergo surgery next week to treat an enlarged prostate, Buckingham Palace announced Wednesday, just one day after his daughter-in-law Kate, the Princess of Wales, was hospitalized to undergo abdominal surgery.
Charles Diagnosed with Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
The palace said Charles was diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia, a common condition among older men that involves the prostate growing larger and pressing on the urethra. Symptoms include difficulty urinating, frequent urination, and inability to completely empty the bladder.
While usually not a serious threat to health, an enlarged prostate can cause persistent and troublesome symptoms. Charles, 75, will undergo a “corrective procedure” next week to treat the condition, after which he is expected to rest for a day or two before resuming official duties.
Queen Camilla said Charles is “fine” and “looking forward to getting back to work.” Searches for information on enlarged prostates reportedly soared across Britain after the king’s diagnosis was made public. Health experts praised Charles’ decision to openly share details about his condition to raise awareness.
Kate Hospitalized for Abdominal Surgery
Charles’ hospital stay comes on the heels of daughter-in-law Kate’s abdominal surgery at a London hospital. The Princess of Wales is expected to remain hospitalized for up to two weeks to recover from what the palace called a “planned surgical procedure.”
Few details were released about Kate’s condition or the specific nature of her surgery. A source close to the royal family indicated the 41-year-old has struggled with stomach issues in recent years, occasionally missing events due to severe morning sickness.
With both Kate and Charles temporarily out of commission, other royals including William, Queen Camilla, and Princess Anne are stepping up to handle upcoming public engagements. The family is said to be putting on a brave face as it handles the simultaneous health issues.
Criticism Over Harry’s Absence
Noticeably absent is Prince Harry, Charles’ younger son, who has kept his distance from the royal family since stepping back from his duties in 2020. Harry and wife Meghan Markle currently reside in California after making the controversial decision to leave behind official royal life in the U.K.
Some royal watchers have criticized Harry for not returning home as his father and Kate undergo medical procedures. Sources claim relations remain frosty between Harry and brother William despite Charles’ attempts to broker peace since becoming king last year.
Harry released a brief statement through his foundation’s PR team wishing Charles and Kate speedy recoveries. But he made no indication of plans to visit the U.K. amidst the health scares.
What Comes Next for the Royals
While Charles and Kate undergo treatment, the public can expect to see prominent royal stand-ins attending engagements across Britain. Prince William canceled his scheduled appearances for the week to be with Kate and their children as she recovers.
Queen Camilla is reportedly reviewing Charles’ upcoming appointments to potentially postpone or reschedule events deemed less pressing. But she and Princess Anne will take up some slack in Charles’ absence to demonstrate stability and continuity of the monarchy.
In the longer term, royal experts say Charles aims to have a slimmed down coronation ceremony in June with reduced outdated rituals – but still expects his estranged son Harry to attend. The king also hopes his proactive health disclosure provides a platform to raise awareness around men’s health issues often ignored.
With Charles ascending to the throne last September, 2023 was already slated to be a transitional year for the British royal family. The recent health scares have only intensified the focus on the line of succession as William steps up with Kate sidelined and Harry residing abroad. But the attention on Charles’ prostate procedure may deliver public benefits beyond the palace walls by encouraging older men to get screened.
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