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“They are human after all”: between stoicism and irony, the British wonder about the health of Kate Middleton and Charles III


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“They are human after all”: between stoicism and irony, the British wonder about the health of Kate Middleton and Charles III


“I think we'll survive a few days without a king,” says Steve, 68. “Well, I hope so,” adds the retiree while walking near Buckingham Palace. His health problem is benign, right? For the past 24 hours, the United Kingdom has been gripped by a strange frenzy: two members of the royal family – Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, and Charles III – announced in quick succession on Wednesday that they were suffering from health problems, which will lead them to cancel several commitments within the framework of their functions.

The first announcement came mid-afternoon from Kensington Palace. “The Princess of Wales was admitted (Tuesday) to The London Clinic to undergo an abdominal procedure,” said the press release, which specified that the operation was “a success”. No further information has been provided regarding the nature of his illness. At most we know that the princess, aged 42, did not arrive at the hospital by ambulance and that the intervention was planned.

She will spend 10 to 14 days in hospital and will only return to her official duties after Easter, on the advice of her doctors. A long recovery period which suggests that his state of health is relatively serious. Sources close to the palace, however, assured that his illness was not linked to cancer. She was last seen on Christmas Day, smiling and looking well, on her way to church in Sandringham, Norfolk.

Less than two hours after this first announcement, the British public learned that Charles III was also going to be hospitalized. “Like thousands of men each year, the King will be treated for an enlarged prostate,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement. He saw a doctor after experiencing symptoms and will have to undergo "a corrective procedure" next week. It is a “mild” condition and the recovery period will be “short”, the palace said.

Just like Catherine, Charles III will, however, have to cancel a certain number of commitments. William, the Prince of Wales, will also step back from his official duties while his wife is hospitalized and shortly after returning home, to care for their three children, Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, 8 years old, and Prince Louis, 5 years old.

The princely couple also had to postpone two trips abroad, including one to Rome, planned for this spring. The vacuum at the head of state will only be short-lived, however, because the king will remain conscious throughout his operation and will only spend one night in hospital, the palace said.

Among the population, reactions oscillate between stoicism and light criticism. “They are human after all and when they reach a certain age, it is not surprising that they suffer health problems,” says Dawn, 65. “They at least have the chance to have access to very good quality medical care, which is not the case for a large part of the British population,” reacts Peter, 47.

On X (formerly Twitter), most of the comments were about Catherine, wishing her a speedy recovery, like the newspaper headlines. However, some pointed out that the average Englishman does not have the luxury of “taking three months off with his partner” to recover from an operation.

Also readKate Middleton's abdominal surgery: why such a long hospital stay is necessary

The announcement of Charles III's illness also reignited the debate on his succession. “We need a young, healthy head of state with a contemporary vision who can rally young people,” said Peter. This is not the case for Charles III, who appears like a relic of the past. He should pass the baton to William.” Dawn disagrees. “An enlarged prostate is by far not a death sentence,” she believes. He must remain at the head of the country to ensure a certain stability. This is what his mother, the Queen, would have wanted.”

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