Why Were King Charles and Kate Middleton's Medical Conditions Announced on the Same Day?

royal visit to 'the prince's foundation for children and the arts'
Charles & Kate's Medical News Announced Same DayDanny Martindale - Getty Images

Royal fans were shocked today when Kensington Palace released an unexpected statement saying that the Princess of Wales has undergone abdominal surgery and will be away from royal duties for months. And less than two hours later, Buckingham Palace issued their own surprise announcement about the King's health, saying that he has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate.

A question that many may be asking is whether it was a coincidence that both statements were made on the same day or whether this was co-ordinated decision by royal households. Other than both being related to the health of a royal, the statements were quite different in that Kensington Palace announced a surgery that had taken place and said the details would be kept private. Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace announced an upcoming procedure and was specific about the King's condition.

king charles attends sunday church service in sandringham
King Charles attends Sunday service at the Church of St Mary Magdalene at Sandringham, January 7, 2024.Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

To provide some context here, the royal family understandably generally try to keep details of their health as private as possible, however when they are forced to cancel public engagements or when a senior royal is admitted to hospital the public is generally informed in some form. For example, when Prince Philip had an abdominal operation in 2013, it was announced that he had been admitted to hospital in advance of surgery. When Queen Elizabeth had knee surgery in 2003, a statement was released by the Palace afterwards about the "minor operation."

The Princess of Wales had her surgery yesterday and clearly her team had decided in advance to make the announcement after it had taken place, in this case the day after. Both the surgery and the announcement were clearly planned, with anticipated questions answered and details of what this means for the next few weeks and months thought through.

When it comes to the announcement about the King, the impression is that the decision to announce this today was hastier and a result of having to postpone meetings at the last minute on the advice of a doctor. The King had a series of meetings and events planned at Dumfries House tomorrow and Friday. Guests, including foreign dignitaries and members of the Cabinet, were due to travel—so the Palace had to make people aware of the situation. So, the fact that these announcements were made within hours of each other does seem to have been something of a coincidence.

the british royal family attend the christmas morning service
Kate on Christmas Day, 2023.Samir Hussein - Getty Images

When it comes to sharing details of their conditions, the Princess of Wales and the King have, as they should be, been able to make their own decisions about what they want to make public. Kensington Palace has made it clear that Kate has asked for her personal medical details to remain private. The King has said that he has chosen to share details to encourage other men who may be experiencing symptoms to get checked in line with public health advice.

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