While King Charles III and Princess Kate Middleton have taken different approaches when it comes to sharing details of their recent health battles, royal expert Gareth Russell exclusively tells Us Weekly that neither one is wrong.
“Simply because one patient is comfortable discussing their health in a certain way does not mean both patients should be,” Russell says. “Just stepping back from the royal aspect of things for a moment, patient privacy is still a really important and a fundamental right.”
Russell notes that Charles, 75, and the Princess of Wales, 42, “have very different kinds of illness,” which leads them to undergo “very different kinds of treatments.”
The palace confirmed on Monday, February 5 that the monarch was diagnosed with cancer, while it was announced in January that Kate was admitted to The London Clinic for abdominal surgery. She has since returned home but isn’t expected to return to her “public duties” until after Easter.
“So there’s much more to suggest that the Princess of Wales was undergoing quite serious surgery as she mentioned in her statement, and that there was an unexpected element to it,” Russell says. “She was very apologetic in that statement to people whose events she would have to cancel on attending.”
Russell adds that it’s sometimes expected for public figures — including royals — to “do everything in a second” in an effort to “ease internet speculation” but that may not be conducive to them.
“Sometimes when you are a patient, even if you have the ability to raise awareness, you are still maybe processing some of this yourself,” he says. “Maybe you want to take it at your own timetable.”
One week after Buckingham Palace shared Charles was discharged from the hospital following a procedure for an enlarged prostate, it was announced that the monarch was diagnosed with cancer.
“During The King’s recent hospital procedure for benign prostate enlargement, a separate issue of concern was noted,” the statement read. “Subsequent diagnostic tests have identified a form of cancer.”
While the place did not share what type of cancer Charles was diagnosed with, nor did they reveal what stage of cancer it was, royal reports have clarified that he does not have prostate cancer.
“His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties,” the statement continued. “Throughout this period, His Majesty will continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual.”
The palace added that Charles is “grateful to his medical team,” and that he “remains wholly positive about his treatment,” hoping to return to “full public duty as soon as possible.”
“His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer,” the statement concluded.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi
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