Royal Family's Recent Health Woes: What to Know

The King and the Princess of Wales are both dealing with some serious health issues right now, and details are scarce.

The British royal family is dealing with two major medical issues within its top ranks right now, and it seems like it happened all at once. While King Charles III deals with a recent cancer diagnosis, his heir's wife, Kate Middleton, is on an unexpectedly long leave recovering from an unnamed surgery. Here's what we know about these two emergencies so far.

The royal family's health issues first went public on Wednesday, Jan. 17, when Kensington Palace announced that Middleton had undergone a "planned abdominal surgery" at The London Clinic. While the procedure was reportedly successful, the Princess of Wales needed more time to recover than anticipated. All of her public events were postponed or canceled through at least Easter – which is on March 31 this year – and her husband Prince William stepped back from public engagements temporarily to stay at home and help with Middleton's recovery as well.

King Charles III Leaves Hospital After Treatment For Enlarged Prostate
(Photo: CHRIS Jackson GETTY IMAGES / Getty Images)

On that same day, Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles would be hospitalized the following week. The king went into The London Clinic to be treated for "an enlarged prostate" – likely a condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH. According to WebMD, this condition is common in older men and is likely caused by natural changes to their hormone balance as they age. It can usually be treated with dietary or lifestyle changes, but sometimes requires medication and occasionally requires a "minimally invasive procedure."

At the time, the king planned on postponing his public engagements for two weeks. Palace officials announced that the surgery was successful and after three days the king was photographed leaving the hospital on his own two feet – he even stopped to visit Middleton while he was there. However, on Monday, Feb. 5, the palace revealed that the king had been diagnosed with cancer during his stay at the hospital.

We don't know what kind of cancer the king has been diagnosed with, nor what kind of treatment he is receiving. However, palace officials said that the king could continue to carry out "State business and official paperwork as usual." He will be postponing all of his "public-facing duties" indefinitely, though the statement said this was under the advisement of doctors.

Understandably, the king's condition raised a lot of concern in the press and on social media, but so far there is not much concrete information to report. In the days between the diagnosis and the announcement, he reportedly called his sons and his siblings personally to inform them first. As for Middleton, she returned home after two weeks in the hospital to continue her recovery. Prince William officially returned to public duties on Wednesday in London, indicating that Middleton is well enough to get by without him.

Statement on the King's Condition

For complete context, here is Buckingham Palace's latest statement on King Charles' condition: "During The King's recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted. Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer. His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties. Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual."

"The King is grateful to his medical team for their swift intervention, which was made possible thanks to his recent hospital procedure. He remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible. His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer."

Statement on Middleton's Condition

The latest official statement on Middleton's condition reads: "The Princess of Wales has returned home to Windsor to continue her recovery from surgery. She is making good progress. The Prince and Princess wish to say a huge thank you to the entire team at The London Clinic, especially the dedicated nursing staff, for the care they have provided. The Wales family continues to be grateful for the well wishes they have received from around the world."

These are the most reliable updates we have on the royals' condition, coming directly from their staffs. Many reports are analyzing the actions of other members of the family, speculating about their purpose and leaning on statements from anonymous sources. For now, Middleton and the king are both seeking as much privacy as possible.