The British monarchy has been hit by a double health scare with the Princess of Wales in hospital for two weeks after abdominal surgery and King Charles set to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate.
Buckingham Palace announced the King will go to hospital next week for the “corrective procedure”, adding that the 75-year-old’s condition was benign but that all upcoming public engagements would be postponed.
Less than two hours earlier, Kensington Palace revealed that Kate Middleton was in hospital recovering from planned abdominal surgery. The future Queen is expected to remain in hospital in central London for 10 to 14 days before recovering in Windsor.
Kate, who was last seen in public 23 days ago after a Christmas Day church service at Sandringham, is expected to return to public duties after Easter.
In its statement, Buckingham Palace said: “In common with thousands of men each year, the King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate.
“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, common in men over the age of 50, is not a cancer and usually does not pose a serious threat to health, the NHS says. Treatment takes place depending on how severe the symptoms are - but can include lasers, implants and even water injections.
The King was due to attend a series of meetings and events at Dumfries House on Thursday and Friday. It is believed that the announcement was made on Wednesday afternoon to give guests, who were due to travel to Scotland, advance notice.
Separately Kate was admitted to The London Clinic on Tuesday for her planned procedure. Kensington Palace, although not revealing the nature of the 42-year-old’s condition, said it was not cancerous.
Heir to the throne, William will now combine being at Kate’s side with caring for their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and he has also postponed a number of engagements.
Kate’s family, including parents Carole and Michael Middleton, are expected to provide support when she returns home to Windsor.
A spokesperson said: “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.”
Kate usually enjoys good health but was previously admitted to hospital while pregnant after suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum – severe morning sickness.
Palace sources told The Times the surgery is said to have been a success and Kate is "doing well".
King Charles was recently pictured attending a Sunday church service in Sandringham on 7 Janaury.
The monarch took to the throne following the death of his mother, Elizabeth II, in September 2022. At the age of 73, he was the oldest person to take the crown with his coronation taking place at Westminster Abbey in May last year.
It was an eventful 2023 for the King, who delivered the opening statement at the Cop28 climate summit in Dubai in December. In his Christmas message, he thanked the “selfless army” of volunteers who he said were the “backbone” of British society.
The princess marked her birthday just over a week ago, with the monarchy’s official social media accounts sharing a new behind-the-scenes photo of the princess at the King’s coronation.
Like King Charles, she had a busy 2023 with the coronation and adjusting to her new role as the Princess of Wales.
The pair were also embroiled in a royal racism scandal when Omid Scobie’s book Endgame named them as the two royal family members who allegedly made remarks about the skin colour of Prince Harry and Meghan’s unborn baby Archie.