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King Charles' health history revealed, as he is diagnosed with cancer

King Charles' health history revealed, as he is diagnosed with cancer

King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer, Buckingham Palace have announced.

The condition was discovered during the King’s stay in the London Clinic last month, where he was treated for a “benign prostate enlargement”. The new diagnosis is not thought to be connected with his recent surgery, or thought to be prostate cancer.

The King, 75, has a long medical history, partly due to his love of sports and riding horses. Here is a list of some of the conditions he's contended with throughout his life.

Back and neck troubles

The King and Queen leave the London Clinic where Charles underwent a procedure for an enlarged prostate (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
The King and Queen leave the London Clinic where Charles underwent a procedure for an enlarged prostate (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Prince Harry wrote in his memoir Spare last year that Charles suffers from "constant" back and neck pain, which he tried to ease by standing on his head. “You might blunder in as he was doing his headstands” the Duke of Sussex wrote. “Prescribed by his physio, these exercises were the only effective remedy”.

Charles missed Royal Ascot in 1991 because of what his hospital consultant described as a "serious degenerative disc problem", with one disc at the base of his spine prolapsed. It’s thought that he may have developed the condition while riding horses, as a keen polo player. As the pain got worse, Charles later agreed to give up playing polo competitively, after warnings from his doctor. It’s also been said that the King may have developed his mannered walk, with his hands held behind his back, to help ease the pain.

A broken arm, and other polo injuries

King Charles on a horse with his father (PA Media)
King Charles on a horse with his father (PA Media)

Polo was the cause of several injuries to Charles over the years. The then Prince broke his right arm in June 1990 after falling from his horse while playing for his team, Windsor Park. After the accident, he spent three nights in hospital. Bone was taken from his hip to pack around the break, and a metal plate was put in. Charles was back playing polo that year.

In August 2001, at the age of 52, Charles was knocked unconscious when he was thrown off his horse in a goalmouth skirmish during a charity polo match in Gloucestershire. He was stretchered off the field, but didn’t break any bones. Twenty years earlier, in 1981, a stray polo ball hit him directly on the throat during a match, leaving him winded and clutching his neck. It meant he lost his voice for ten days.

Other broken bones

King Charles horse riding with Prince Harry (PA)
King Charles horse riding with Prince Harry (PA)

Hunting has also led to some accidents. In January 1998, Charles broke a rib after he fell from his horse during a hunt on the north Wales border. Despite the discomfort, he went hiking in the Himalayas just a few weeks afterwards, on an official visit to Nepal and Bhutan.

In 2001, Charles fell off his horse during a fox hunt in Derbyshire, breaking a bone in his left shoulder. The then prince got back in the saddle straight afterwards, but an X-ray revealed that he had fractured the acromion, a small bone near the shoulder blade.

Knee operation

Also in 1998, Charles had laser keyhole surgery on his right knee. It was believed that his injury then was caused by years of sport and exercise. The operation left him walking with a stick, which he ditched earlier than aides had suggested, returning to a full day of royal engagements.

‘Sausage fingers’

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

King Charles is also known for his “sausage fingers”, which he has joked about himself over the years. The condition is known as dactylitis. The King has never divulged the medical cause, but dactylitis can be the result of arthritis, bacterial infections, allergic reactions, or medicinal side effects, among other things.

Non-cancerous growth

King Charles had a non-cancerous growth removed from his face in May 2008. The Royal was seen with a small plaster on the right side of his nose after the surgery, which took place at his London home, Clarence House. His press office said at the time that it was “a routine and minor matter”, but didn’t disclose other details.

Sawdust in his eye

Buckingham Palace announced Charles has been diagnosed with a form of cancer (Hannah McKay/PA) (PA Wire)
Buckingham Palace announced Charles has been diagnosed with a form of cancer (Hannah McKay/PA) (PA Wire)

In November 2001, Charles was seen with a bandage over his left eye. It was revealed that he had got sawdust in his eye while sawing a branch off a tree at Highgrove, his Gloucestershire estate. The dust had scratched his cornea, and temporarily affected his vision.

Hernia

That wasn’t the only gardening injury suffered by the green-fingered monarch. Charles had an operation on a hernia in March 2003, which was he reportedly developed while working in the grounds at Highgrove. That condition, caused by a loop of the bowel protruding through an abdominal muscle, left Charles in serious pain. He had to cancel his annual skiing trip to Switzerland that year.