From Covid-19 to polo injuries: King Charles' health history as Palace announces cancer diagnosis

Credit: PA

King Charles III is currently undergoing cancer treatment, but its not the first time the monarch's health has been in the headlines.

Palace officials did not specify what type of cancer the King has or how serious his condition is.

They only said that it was discovered during Charles' recent hospital treatment for an enlarged prostate, but it isn't prostate cancer.

From tumbles, to COVID-19 and his self proclaimed "sausage fingers," the King has had a number of hospital trips over his 75 years.

Here is a look at Charles' health history:

Charles' 'exploding' appendix

1962: As a child, Charles said he was rushed to Great Ormond Street Hospital to stop his appendix from “exploding”.

He declared on a later visit: “I got here just in time before the thing exploded and was happily operated on and looked after by the nurses.”

The late Queen Elizabeth II and the then Prince Charles in 1961. Credit: PA

Charles’s appendix procedure took place in February 1962 when he was 13 and studying at Cheam School, near Newbury, Berkshire.

Broken bones and sporting injuries

Charles was a keen polo player and sportsman in is younger days, but his athletic prowess did lead to a few broken bones.

1980: The then-Prince of Wales was thrown off his pony and kicked in the head by his horse, leading him to need six stitches on his cheek.

1990s: Charles had to have several operations after he broke his right arm in a fall during a polo match and injured his left knee during another game.

King Charles with Princess Dianna after he broke his arm playing polo. Credit: PA

1998: During a fox hunt, Charles broke a rib when he fell from his horse.

2001: He was knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital in an ambulance when his horse threw him off during a polo match.

The King was playing with his sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

He fractured a small bone in his shoulder after another tumble while hunting.

2005: The King retired from playing polo after more than 40 years.

Minor surgery

2003: Charles joked “hernia today, gone tomorrow” to waiting reporters after he had his hernia removed.

2008: He had a non-cancerous growth removed from the bridge of his nose in a minor, routine procedure.

Bad back

Charles, who has a degenerative disc at the base of his spine, has also spoken about his back pain. He is known to travel on royal tours with a cushion, and a velvet cushion is usually placed on his chair during state banquets at Buckingham Palace.

Charles never travelled on royal tours without a special cushion, usually a tartan one, which he used to ease back pain.

In his memoir “Spare,” Prince Harry wrote about Charles' exercises at home to keep his “constant" neck and back pain in check.

"Sausage fingers"

There has long been speculation about Charles' swollen “sausage fingers,” with some suggesting they may be due to fluid build-up, arthritis or other conditions.

Grazes on the The Prince of Wales' fingers in 2009 on a visit to Watford. Credit: PA

Whether the puffy digits are due to a health condition remains unexplained, but Charles has jokingly referenced them himself on more than one occasion.

In a BBC documentary on Charles' coronation, the King was seen reassuring his son Prince William when he struggled to fasten one of the ceremonial robes. He jokingly told William not to worry, because “you haven't got sausage fingers like mine.”

But Charles had been aware of his large fingers for decades.

The Prince of Wales during a visit to the Rural Skills Centre in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Credit: PA

“He really does look surprisingly appetising and has sausage fingers just like mine,” he wrote to a friend after the birth of his first son, William, in 1982.


Charles had COVID-19 twice, but officials said that he only suffered mild symptoms both times.

2020: He isolated at home in Scotland in March 2020, during the early days of the pandemic in the UK and before vaccines were available.

King Charles wearing a face mask arrives to meet with health and care workers administering and receiving the Covid-19 vaccine Credit: PA

He remained in good health, though he lost his sense of taste and smell for a time.

Charles later spoke of the “strange, frustrating and often distressing” experience of being isolated from friends and family during lockdown.

2022: Charles contracted the coronavirus a second time in February 2022. He had been triple-vaccinated at the time.

Prostate procedure

Charles was discharged from a private London hospital a week ago after undergoing treatment on an enlarged prostate.

Officials said the condition was benign, though the king canceled engagements and was urged to rest before the procedure.

Palace officials said the king publicised details about his condition in an effort to encourage other men to have their prostates checked in line with public health advice.

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