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22 times royals were hospitalised: Prince William, King Charles, Princess Kate and more

Princess Eugenie, Prince Harry and Sophie Wessex have all spent time in hospital

royals hospitalised
Melanie Macleod
Wellness Editor
Updated: January 17, 2024
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From Princess Kate to Queen Consort Camilla, members of the royal family are often seen visiting hospitals on royal engagements, showing their appreciation for the medical staff.

It's no surprise the royals are in awe of the work of medical professionals – many of them have been hospitalised over the years, with ailments sustained while horse riding and injuries that occurred on ski holidays.

The royals have also been hospitalised for more down-to-earth reasons too, with gardening mishaps and falling on hikes responsible for several royals undergoing hospital stays.

Read on for all the times the royals have been hospitalised.

Princess of Wales' abdominal surgery

Princess Kate looking serious as she attends a ceremonial welcome for the President and the First Lady of the Republic of Korea in November© Getty

In January 2023, a spokesperson confirmed that the Princess of Wales had been admitted to hospital for planned abdominal surgery. The statement read in part: "Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales was admitted to The London Clinic 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 statement added that while the princess understands that her stint in hospital drums up interest, she was keen to keep a level of normality for her three children, Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte. The Princess of Wales also stressed her desire to keep her medical information private. 

The statement continued: "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."

Prince William's skull fracture

During a game of golf at his school in Wokingham in 1991, the future king was hit on the head by a golf club while playing with his school friends. The hapless accident resulted in a fractured skull that saw the then eight-year-old undergoing a 70-minute operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, followed by an overnight stay.

Prince William forehead scar© Photo: Getty Images
Prince William has a scar on his forehead from his golf mishap

Prince William spoke about his injury 18 years later, during a chat with a 10-year-old cancer patient for BBC's Newsround.

"I got hit by a golf club when I was playing golf with a friend of mine," the royal said. "We were on a putting green and the next thing you know there was a seven-iron and it came out of nowhere and it hit me in the head."

King Charles' fractured shoulder

The King fractured a bone in his shoulder when he fell off a horse during a fox hunt in 2001.

He was 52 at the time and was thrown to the ground when his horse took an unexpected jump during a ride in Derbyshire, according to a St James's Palace spokeswoman.

King Charles with his arm in a sling© Photo: Getty Images
King Charles with his arm in a sling in 2001

Charles reportedly fell awkwardly and initially thought he had dislocated his shoulder. An X-ray showed he had broken a small bone on the edge of his shoulder blade, and he wore a sling for a few days.

This wasn't the monarch's first tumble; 11 years before, back in 1990 when he was 42, King Charles II broke his right arm in a fall during a polo match.

Princess Kate's hyperemesis gravidarum

Princess Kate was unwell with extreme morning sickness throughout all three of her pregnancies, but it was so severe when she was pregnant for the first time with Prince George that the royal was admitted to hospital.

When unable to keep anything down, a hospital stay will allow any fluids to be administered via a drip to keep the mother and baby hydrated and healthy.

Kate Middleton in a polka dot hat looking smart© Photo: Getty Images
Princess Kate was unwell during her pregnancies

Princess Kate was unwell during her pregnancies

Queen Elizabeth II's sprained back

In October 2021, Queen Elizabeth II sprained her back, preventing her from attending the Remembrance Sunday Service at the Cenotaph, which reportedly left her "disappointed" to miss the service.

the queen in purple© Photo: Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II had a bad back in older age

Following the sprain, she was under doctors' orders to rest for nearly a month after spending a night in hospital on 20 October undergoing preliminary investigations. She never fully regained mobility after this hospitalisation.

Princess Eugenie's eight-hour operation

Princess Eugenie has scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and underwent surgery to correct it aged 12.

She had titanium added to her spine to rebuild it as a result of a curvature.

princess eugenies scoliosis back scar© Photo: Getty Images
Princess Eugenie has a scar on her back from her scoliosis surgery

Talking about the trauma before having the procedure, Eugenie said: "There are so many emotions and worries that go thundering through your head. Will I be able to play sports, or will I look the same, or will I miss a lot of school and be behind? I remember being angry about not being able to run and play."

Post-operation, Eugenie spent three days in intensive care, a week in a ward and six days in a wheelchair.

Queen Elizabeth II's broken wrist

Queen Elizabeth II broke her left wrist when her horse tripped, causing them both to fall in 1994.

A palace spokesman said the then 67-year-old monarch was injured during a ride at her Sandringham estate.

Queen Elizabeth II in a sling© Photo: Getty Images
The late Queen hurt her wrist while riding

She was out riding on Saturday as usual when her horse tripped and fell and the Queen fell onto her left wrist," the spokesman said at the time.

"It is not a serious break, it is just an inconvenient thing. It was thought just to be a bruise to start with and the break was not diagnosed until nearly 24 hours afterwards," he continued.

READ: The sweet reason Queen Elizabeth II loved horses so much

Princess Anne's cracked bone

Princess Anne suffered several serious injuries while horse riding, her first being at age 14, when the Princess Royal was taken to a hospital with a hand injury after a horse‐riding accident near her school in Kent.

The young princess cracked a bone in the little finger of her right hand after she had caught it in the rein of her pony.

Princess anne in a sling© Photo: Getty Images
Princess Anne was hospitalised aged 14

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "The Princess' condition is perfectly satisfactory."

In 2008, Princess Anne fell foul of horses again. She was seen hobbling around with the help of a walking stick after she was kicked by a horse at her home.

Sarah Ferguson's chipped bone

In 1998, the Duchess of York chipped a bone while skiing in Verbier with her daughter, Princess Eugenie, who was seven at the time.

A spokeswoman for the Duchess said she was in considerable pain, with the injured right shoulder "very badly bruised" as well as chipped.

sarah ferguson skiing© Photo: Getty Images
Sarah Ferguson sustained an injury skiing

"There's no great cause for alarm - the Duchess is very tough and expects to stay in Verbier with her children," the spokeswoman added, before sharing that ever the trooper, the Duchess "picked herself up and skied on down," after an awkward fall.

Sarah saw a doctor and went to hospital for an X-ray after the accident, but the injury was not serious enough to force her to cut short the holiday.

Mike Tindall's horrific rugby accident

Former rugby player Mike Tindall, who played for Bath and Gloucester during his career, was injured in a Six Nations match against Wales in 2008. A tackle left him with a misplaced rib which punctured his lung and tore a hole in his liver.

mike tindall black eye© Photo: Getty Images
Mike Tindall sustained life-threatening injuries

Following the ordeal, Mike was in intensive care for three nights and explained to The Daily Mail: "If the boot had struck me an inch or two higher or lower then I would just have cracked a couple of ribs.

"That's not very pleasant, and I would have been out of rugby for a few weeks, but I would have settled for that in light of what happened instead."

INSIDE: What do Zara and Mike Tindall do for a living?

He shared that his opponent's boot hit his diaphragm and sternum, while the studs caught his liver.

"At first, I thought I'd just done my ribs, albeit badly. My immediate thought was that at least a couple had been broken. But what really worried me was the fact that I was struggling desperately to breathe," Mike recalled.

WOW: Inside Mike and Zara Tindall's private holiday: Lie-ins, leisurely lunches and late nights

"At the time I didn't gauge how serious a condition I was in," he said. "It turns out I had a big tear in my liver. It was more than an inch wide and about an inch deep.

"The biggest concern was my internal bleeding. I lost two pints of blood into my membrane and if it had leaked out much more and floated around in my stomach then I would have been in big trouble."

Mike eventually made a full recovery after several weeks.

Zara Tindall's broken collarbone

As a professional horse rider, you'd expect Zara Tindall to have suffered a fair few injuries when riding.

Zara Tindall in a red hat© Photo: Getty Images

Zara Tindall broke her collarbone riding her horse

Zara broke her collarbone in a riding accident in which her horse was killed during a cross-country event at Pau near the French Pyrenees.

READ: Zara Tindall's new hobby Mike Tindall seriously approves of

King Charles' eye injury

King Charles was seen sporting an eye patch in 2001 following an accident at home.

King Charles wearing eye patch© Photo: Getty Images

King Charles hurt his eye in an unexpected way

The monarch had to wear the patch after he got a large amount of dust in his eye while sawing a tree in his garden. Following the gardening mishap, the then 52-year-old had to undergo hospital treatment, which resulted in his pirate-like protection.

Lady Louise Windsor's two life-changing surgeries

Lady Louise, 19, who recently started at St Andrews University, was born with a rare eye condition called esotropia, which causes a squint in one eye that turns inwards.

At 18 months old, Lady Louise underwent surgery to correct her vision. Unfortunately, this was unsuccessful. "Her squint was quite profound when she was tiny," said Countess Sophie. "And it takes time to correct it. You've got to make sure one eye doesn’t become more dominant than the other."

lady louise looking serious© Photo: Getty Images

Lady Louise had surgery as a baby

Lady Louise went on to have a second procedure in 2014, when she was ten years old, and her vision was overhauled. "She's fine now – her eyesight is perfect," Sophie added.

The Queen's knee and wrist operations

2004 saw her majesty hospitalised for a knee operation while in 1994 the late Queen broke her left wrist when her horse tripped during a ride on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

"She was out riding on Saturday as usual when her horse tripped and fell and the Queen fell onto her left wrist. The fracture is to the scaphoid bone," said a spokesman at the time.

queen riding horse© Photo: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth was injured when she fell from her horse

"It is not a serious break, it is just an inconvenient thing. It was thought just to be a bruise to start with and the break was not diagnosed until nearly 24 hours afterward," he added.

Lady Louise Windsor's broken arm

Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter fell from her pony in 2012 at age eight, resulting in a broken arm, which caused much distress to her mother, the Countess of Wessex, who immediately cancelled her engagements for the day to be by her daughter's side.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said at the time: "Lady Louise broke her left arm after falling from her pony while riding at Windsor this morning. She has been treated by doctors and is now resting at home."

Meghan Markle's hospitalisation

The Duchess of Sussex is a beacon of health and wellbeing, and as a result is rarely unwell, however she did share she was hospitalised with migraines before she treated them with acupuncture.

meghan markle smiling in a black top© Photo: Getty Images

Meghan Markle turned to acupuncture to treat her migraine

Queen Consort Camilla's fractured leg

In 2010 Queen Camilla was taken to hospital in Aberdeen after fracturing her leg while out walking near the Balmoral estate.

Camilla, who was 62 at the time, "took a tumble" while on her annual Easter break with her husband, with the couple's official spokesman explaining the Queen Consort would be in plaster for at least six weeks.

camilla in dark clothes© Photo: Getty Images

Queen Consort Camilla was injured in Balmoral

"She was walking in slippery conditions in Scotland, and took a tumble and hurt her leg," he said. "Today, following doctor's advice, Her Royal Highness had an x-ray which showed a twisted fracture of the fibula.

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"Consequently, Her Royal Highness is wearing a plaster cast and will be for six weeks. She has been advised not to put weight on her leg. Her Royal Highness has every intention of carrying out all planned engagements."

Sophie Wessex's broken ribs

Days before her nephew Prince William's wedding to Princess Kate, the Countess of Wessex was involved in a serious riding accident while hacking on her horse in Windsor Great Park. The royal, who was 46 at the time, was taken to hospital following the accident.

Sophie Wessex in a ditzy floral dress© Photo: Getty Images

Sophie Wessex almost missed her nephew's wedding due to injury

Prince Edward's wife had an X-ray at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Windsor, which revealed she had broken a rib and badly bruised several others.

Sophie was sent home with painkillers to ease the discomfort – broken ribs tend to be left to heal on their own, as there's not much that can be done to splint or support them.

The Queen's sickness bug

In 2013 the Queen was admitted to hospital for the first time in 10 years after being diagnosed with gastroenteritis.

A spokesperson for the royal family said the then 86-year-old was taken by car to King Edward VII Hospital in London.

King Charles' broken arm

Summer of 1990 saw Prince William's father break his arm during a polo match in Cirencester and was seen leaving Cirencester Hospital with his then wife, Princess Diana, after doctors placed his broken arm in a sling.

Prince Harry's excruciating knee injury

An injury sustained during a military training day with Prince William, saw Prince Harry join the army later than planned.

"In one exercise we scurried down a flight of metal stairs. Someone cut the lights, to make it more interesting, I suppose. In the pitch dark, four steps from the bottom, I fell, landed on my left knee, which was immediately impaled on a fixed bolt sticking out of the floor," Harry wrote in his memoir Spare.

prince harry in an army truck© Photo: Getty Images

Prince Harry joined the army late due to injury

"Blinding pain washed over me. I managed to get up, keep going, finish the drill. But at the end of the exercise we jumped off the boat's helipad, into the water, and I found my knee wasn't working," Harry continued.

"My whole leg wasn't working. When I got out of the water and stripped off the dry suit, Willy looked down and turned pale. My knee was gushing blood. Paramedics were there within minutes. The palace announced some weeks later that my entry into the Army would be postponed. Indefinitely."

Harry went on the reveal that while he rested with his leg iced and elevated, the palace communications team told the papers that he had injured his knee playing rugby.

READ: Prince Harry's 'debilitating' injury he pushed through

Sophie Wessex's skiing injury

The Countess of Wessex took a tumble while skiing back in 2000, when she was 35 years old.

At the time she was working at the public relations firm she founded, and was photographed returning to work on crutches following a nasty fall.

Sophie Wessex on crutches© Photo: Getty Images

Sophie Wessex relied on crutches after a skiing mishap

In 2004, the then 39-year-old returned to the UK on crutches once more after pulling a muscle in her right leg while skiing.

Lady Louise's fractured leg

Like mother, like daughter, and Sophie Wessex's daughter Lady Louise Windsor's fun was cut short after she suffered a nasty accident while skiing in Switzerland in 2018.

Lady Louise, who was 14 at the time, was on holiday in St Moritz with her parents Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, and her younger brother James, Viscount Severn, and was pictured walking on crutches.

According to the MailOnline, the young royal took a tumble and is believed to have fractured her left leg.

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