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The level of detail we know about King Charles' health is unusual. Why it was released

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LONDON, ENGLAND -

January is usually a quiet period for the Royal Family – but not this year.

It’s already been a rocky start for The Firm, thanks to further revelations about Prince Andrew, but now health concerns are front and centre for the royals.

This afternoon, a statement was released by Kensington Palace stating that the Princess of Wales had undergone abdominal surgery and would stay in hospital for the next 10-14 days.

The full statement read:

“Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales was admitted to hospital yesterday for planned abdominal surgery. The surgery was successful and it is expected that she will remain in hospital for ten to fourteen days, before returning home to continue her recovery. Based on the current medical advice, she is unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.

The Princess of Wales appreciates the interest this statement will generate. She hopes that the public will understand her desire to maintain as much normality for her children as possible; and her wish that her personal medical information remains private.

Kensington Palace will, therefore, only provide updates on Her Royal Highness’ progress when there is significant new information to share.

The Princess of Wales wishes to apologise to all those concerned for the fact that she has to postpone her upcoming engagements. She looks forward to reinstating as many as possible, as soon as possible.”

The length of time she would be in hospital and the fact that all her public engagements until Easter have been cancelled was shocking for many.

The Princess of Wales has not been seen in public since Christmas Day, when she gathered with the rest of the Royal Family at St. Mary Magdalene church near the Sandringham estate. It’s also thought that the Prince of Wales will be suspending his public duties to remain by Kate’s side and help take care of their three young children: George, Charlotte and Louis.

Kate, the Princess of Wales, from right, Prince Louis, Prince George, Prince William and Princess Charlotte leave after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

This means they will miss the Six Nations Rugby tournament and the BAFTA Awards along with various other charity events and investitures due to take place over the coming weeks. The Prince and Princess of Wales were also supposed make their first tour of 2024 to a foreign country to support British military stationed there. That will now be postponed until after Easter at least.

Then, hot off the press less than two hours later, arrived another royal statement -- this time from Buckingham Palace -- on the health of King Charles III.

The full statement read:

“In common with thousands of men each year, The King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate. His Majesty's condition is benign and he will attend hospital next week for a corrective procedure. The King’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation.”

It’s thought that the King was keen to share the details of his diagnosis to encourage other men, who may be experiencing symptoms, to get themselves checked. Buckingham Palace said Charles' condition was benign, he would be having a corrective procedure and his engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation.

The King had a series of meetings and events planned at Dumfries House in East Ayrshire on Thursday and Friday, which are now being postponed on his doctor's advice. Guests, including foreign dignitaries and members of the UK government, were due to travel to Scotland and the palace made the announcement to allow for them to be made aware of the situation.

The level of detail offered to the press is unusual. Of course, we’re not privy to all the information, especially with the Princess of Wales’ statement, but we have been given details that in the past perhaps would have been kept quiet -- like the fact it was abdominal surgery and the length of time of her stay in hospital.

The King’s statement, although shorter, was bolstered with further briefing from the palace, especially the fact that the King wanted people to be aware of his condition to raise awareness.

There’s also the pressing question of what will The Firm do now that three of their four most senior members will be out of action at the same time, for a few weeks at least. The Royal Family usually gets back to work around mid-January after the Christmas break. Last year the Prince and Princess of Wales opened Royal University Hospital in Liverpool on Jan. 12.

We can expect a few visits or charity events to be cancelled but we can also expect other key players in The Firm, like Princess Anne and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, to fill the more senior royals' shoes where necessary. We may also see Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice out on manoeuvres on behalf of the family.

Princess Beatrice right and Princess Eugenie, speak to members of the public as they attend the Coronation Big Lunch in Chalfont St Giles, in Buckinghamshire, England, Sunday, May 7, 2023. The Big Lunch is part of the weekend of celebrations for the Coronation of King Charles III (Ben Birchall/Pool Photo via AP)

So, what will this do for the popularity of the family? The latest YouGov poll shows that the Prince of Wales has a favourability ranking of 68%, making him the most popular working Royal while the Princess of Wales is at 63% and is the third most popular. King Charles -- the fourth most popular working Royal -- is seen by 51% of people polled in a positive light. Having three of the four most-liked Royals out of action will be a huge blow for the family when they could really do with a popularity boost.

At this time, the main thing on the minds of the Royal Family is wishing two of their most-loved members well and supporting them on their respective health journeys.

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