A portrait of King Charles III and the Queen Consort taken ahead of the coronation.
Chalk it down to coronation fatigue, but some royal watchers are asking an unlikely question – is King Charles hiding his “sausage fingers” from public view?
With days still to go before the big day, and seemingly ever angle covered, attention online has turned to the monarch’s infamous distended digits. Eagle-eyed commentators have seized on two official photographs of the king – one with has his hands behind his back as he stands alongside Camilla, the Queen Consort. Another shows the 74-year-old with one hand in his pocket.
The royal himself dubbed them his “sausage fingers” in a letter he wrote to a friend when he was describing the birth of his son, Prince William, in 1982.
“He really does look surprisingly appetising and has sausage fingers just like mine,” Charles wrote according to the book, The Man Who Will Be King, by Howard Hodgson. The phrase has also repeatedly featured in reports, including while on tour in Australia in 2012.
The coronation story we’ve all missed…going to say it’s not first time I’ve seen him with hands behind his back…. https://t.co/mXceG2l73y
— Jon Sopel (@jonsopel) May 2, 2023
Not for the first time, the monarch’s puffy pointers have been the talk of social media, with the tabloids picking up on the suggestion Charles has been “bullied” into hiding them. “Show us his hands cowards,” one Twitter user demanded while quote-tweeting the royal family account.
Former BBC broadcaster Jon Sopel, who now fronts the popular The News Agents podcast, joined the speculation. He tweeted: “The coronation story we’ve all missed…going to say it’s not first time I’ve seen him with hands behind his back….”
— Page Six (@PageSix) May 2, 2023
When the former prince and his pinkies previously topped Google searches, doctors have stepped forward to attempt to explain what’s going on (Charles has not offered an explanation).
On TikTok last year, soon after he took the throne, Dr David Reiner explained there’s probably a biological reason for the swelling in the royal’s fingers.
He explained: “Throughout your body you’ve got blood vessels that deliver oxygen to your cells.
“These blood vessels are full of red blood cells and fluids – now there are pressures within the blood vessels that cause fluid to exit them.”
The then Prince of Wales pulling a pint during a visit to the Prince of Wales pub in Clapham, south London in 2021.
Dr Reiner went on to share that “oncotic forces” pull this fluid back into the blood vessels – in most people, if there’s fluid build-up outside the vessel at all, this is usually returned to the heart via the lymphatic system.
So, because King Charles has massive swollen fingers, Dr Reiner says that the new monarch’s lymphatic system might not be working correctly and that fluid is getting stuck outside the blood vessels causing the extreme swelling in his fingers.
Although there may be many other reasons for the King’s swollen digits, according to this doctor, fluid retention may be the answer.