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King Charles's swollen fingers trend on coronation day: What do we know about his health?

King Charles' swollen fingers have seen a spike in interest of late, particularly in the lead up to the coronation. (Getty Images)
King Charles' swollen fingers have seen a spike in interest of late, particularly in the lead up to the coronation. (Getty Images)

The occasion of King Charles’s coronation is finally here and interest in the new monarch has never been higher.

However, as his every move is carefully monitored, there’s one thing about the new King that seems to continuously attract attention online: his swollen fingers.

After seeing him pour a pint during a royal engagement in 2021, many fans commented on Twitter asking if all was ok with his hands.

"I've never noticed the hands of Prince Charles until this photo. Is he okay? They are so swollen," one user wrote.

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He was also seen with what looked like painfully swollen hands and feet during the first day of his royal tour in India in 2019 when he removed his shoes to step into a Sikh temple in New Delhi.

Charles has even reportedly jokingly referred to his hands as "sausage fingers" when a photo of him after a flight to Australia in 2012 resurfaced and went viral.

After pouring a pint during a royal visit in 2021, people noticed how swollen Charles' fingers looked. (Getty Images)
After pouring a pint during a royal visit in 2021, people noticed how swollen Charles' fingers looked. (Getty Images)

And writing to a friend after the birth of first-born Prince William in 1982 he said: “He really does look surprisingly appetising and has sausage fingers just like mine,” according to the book, The Man Who Will Be King, by Howard Hodgson.

Charles' late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, also commented on the size of her sons' hands, reportedly writing a letter to her music teacher after he was born: "They are rather large, but with fine long fingers quite unlike mine and certainly unlike his father's. It will be interesting to see what they become."

Google searches for 'king charles fingers' spiked during the Queen's funeral and again during his Christmas Day speech. (Google)
Google searches for 'king charles fingers' spiked during the Queen's funeral and again during his Christmas Day speech. (Google)

It seems interest in the King's fingers seems to spike every time there is a big royal occasion – the Queen's funeral, his Christmas Day speech – and the lead up to the coronation has been no different.

While Charles has never addressed what might be the cause of his seemingly swollen hands, and at 74 he seems in good health, but he has had several visits to hospital over the years.

Fans commented on the then Prince Charles fingers on a visit to The Solomon Islands in 2019. (Getty Images)
Fans commented on the then Prince Charles fingers on a visit to The Solomon Islands in 2019. (Getty Images)

Back in 1990, then aged 41, Charles broke his right arm in two places after falling from his horse during a polo match, spending three nights at Cirencester Memorial Hospital in Gloucestershire.

And when he was a youngster, aged just 15, the then Prince Charles was admitted to hospital with a bout of mild pneumonia.

The now monarch also tested positive for COVID-19 twice during the coronavirus pandemic, although neither time required hospital treatment.

While no official explanation has been given for the King's often swollen fingers, the NHS offers some suggestions of what could cause swelling in hands and feet, including that it could be due to a build-up of fluid in the body's tissues which make them puffy and swollen.

Professionally referred to as oedema, the condition can affect any part of the body. However, as a result of gravity the fluid tends to fall downwards, meaning that the hands, feet and ankles are usually the most affected areas.

It's usually caused by staying in the same position for too long, eating too much salty food, being pregnant or taking certain medicines including some blood pressure medicines, contraceptive pills, antidepressants and steroids.

Read more: King's coronation: Why is the sovereign's ring called 'the wedding ring of England'?

A close-up view of the hand of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during a visit to BBC Broadcasting House in April 2022. (Getty Images)
A close-up view of the hand of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales during a visit to BBC Broadcasting House in April 2022. (Getty Images)

Other causes include an injury sudden change in temperature an insect bite or skin allergy. Problems with your kidneys, liver or heart, blood clots, infections and certain conditions such as lymphoedema or arthritis are also potential causes.

While the swelling should go away on its own there are certain things the NHS suggests trying to ease symptoms including lying down and using pillows to raise the swollen areas, massaging your hand or arm towards your body and raising your hand above your head while you open and close your fist.

You can also trying bathing the impacted area in warm water, then cold water to try to shift fluid away from the area.

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Another potential explanation or swollen fingers or hands, according to the NHS, is psoriatic arthritis.

This is a type of arthritis that affects some people with the skin condition psoriasis and can cause affected joints to become swollen, stiff and painful.

The NHS says the severity of the condition can vary considerably from person to person and treatments include trying to relieve symptoms and slow the condition's progression, which can include the taking of certain medicines including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biological therapies.

Interestingly, there is even a technical term for "sausage fingers" – dactylitis – which is a medical term for severe swelling that affects your fingers and toes.