Royals Who Live With Medical Conditions

Royals: they're just like us. While it can seem as though they're worlds apart as they live lavish lives in castles and palaces across the globe, in reality they're all human beings with real medical problems. Just like the rest of us, they come down with the common cold, they suffer from allergies and some even live with more severe medical conditions. And why wouldn't they? According to the Office for National Statistics, almost half the entire U.K. population lives with a long-standing health problem, while 51.8% of the population in the U.S. has at least one diagnosed chronic condition (per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

With those statistics in mind, and with so many royal families across the world, it should come as no surprise to learn that so many of the royals that we know and love also confront issues with their health. But in true "keep calm and carry on" fashion, they often tend to avoid speaking out about the health challenges they face behind closed doors and how these medical conditions affect their everyday lives. However, it's now time to lift the lid on the royals who live with their diseases and ailments daily, and how they cope with them.

Princess Eugenie had life-changing surgery for scoliosis as a child

Princess Eugenie prefers to live a normal life. Not only does she have a non-royal job as the associate director of Hauser and Wirth art gallery in London, but she also tends to keep her personal life private. Yet in the run-up to her wedding in October 2018, Eugenie decided to do something rather out of the ordinary: she decided to show off. More specifically, she decided to display her scoliosis scar in her custom Peter Piloto open-backed wedding dress.

When Eugenie was 12 years old, she went under the knife for a complicated surgery to correct this curvature of her spine. The princess published an essay on the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) website in 2021, writing, "During my operation, which took eight hours, my surgeons inserted eight-inch titanium rods into each side of my spine and one-and-a-half inch screws at the top of my neck. After three days in intensive care, I spent a week on a ward and six days in a wheelchair, but I was walking again after that."

Although the surgery was a success, the titanium rod in her back did pose a problem when the princess was gearing up to welcome her son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank in February 2021. Due to the location of the rod in her back, Eugenie couldn't receive an epidural, so it was decided that she would instead have a C-section (per People).

Meghan Markle suffered from debilitating migraines that left her hospitalized

Over the course of her life and career, the Duchess of Sussex has made no secret of the fact that she's incredibly health-conscious. Although she doesn't post workout videos on Instagram or disclose every single piece of food she eats to the press, Meghan Markle has previously spoken publicly about her healthy lifestyle. She told Best Health that she tries to "eat vegan during the week and then have a little bit more flexibility with what I dig into on the weekends," and that her exercise of choice is yoga. It seems as though this natural and more holistic approach to her well-being has also helped to cure her once-debilitating medical condition.

In 2015, Meghan sat down with The Chalkboard and disclosed for the first time that she used to suffer from migraines that were so bad she was often hospitalized for them. Although she didn't confirm how long she had been suffering from these migraines, she did confess that they had stopped occurring thanks to her more holistic approach to her condition. "I have been a longtime believer in acupuncture and cupping," she said, adding, "Acupuncture and Eastern medicine absolute [sic] changed my life."

Princess Charlene of Monaco underwent numerous surgeries in 2021

Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco has been on a whirlwind journey over the years. Watching her stunning transformation has been joyous for royal fans to watch, but she's also struggled along the way. In fact, her life took a turn for the worse in 2021 when she disappeared from the limelight for almost two years.

In May 2021, Charlene traveled to South Africa without her family to raise awareness about rhino poaching. But the princess contracted a severe ear, nose, and throat infection during her trip. While she hoped to make a quick recovery and return home, her team confirmed by late June that she was still undergoing a number of complex medical procedures in South Africa, stating (via News24), "The princess' medical team instructed her not to travel back to Monaco as the princess still has to undergo and recover from more procedures." 

It wasn't until November 2021 that Charlene was able to finally return to her family in Monaco, but she continued to keep a low profile. Under the advisement of her team, it was decided that she would steer clear of public events — including Monaco's famous National Day, which took place on November 19. The Palais Princier released a statement ahead of this event, stating that her health was still on the mend. Thankfully, Charlene seems to have since made a full recovery.

Lady Louise Windsor was born prematurely, and with an eye condition

Lady Louise Windsor may not be the most well-known royal, but an insider told Fabulous (via The U.S. Sun) that Louise was actually the grandchild that the late Queen Elizabeth II liked the most. Despite the sadness surrounding her grandmother's death, the 19-year-old is now thriving as a student at St. Andrews University, which is coincidentally where Prince William and Kate Middleton first met while both studying there. However, there was a time when her parents, Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, didn't know if Louise would even make it to college.

Louise was born prematurely in 2003 and Sophie spoke about the complications of her birth with the Daily Express, confirming that Louise was born via an emergency caesarian. Louise was so small she weighed just 4 pounds, 9 ounces, and she was also born with a squint — something that is common with premature babies. Although this squint has been incorrectly diagnosed in the past, Sophie set the record straight, saying, "Louise was born with a squint. People have called it exotropia. It wasn't ever exotropia — that has been incorrect."

Louise underwent corrective eye surgery at 18 months old in an effort to reduce this squint, but unfortunately, the first attempt was unsuccessful. A second attempt in 2014 was successful, with Sophie confirming to the Express that her daughter's eyesight was now flawless.

Princess Diana dealt with bulimia throughout her marriage

Princess Diana's life was full of twists and turns. While there were some serious highs, she also struggled with some devastating lows. Of course, many of her fans have found solace in the fact that her memory and legacy have lived on in various forms, including shows like "The Crown." While the accuracy of this show has been debated over the years, Diana's on-screen issues with bulimia were all real.

In 1992, Diana became the talk of the town when Andrew Morton released the biography "Diana: Her True Story." Not only did Diana authorize the book, but she also collaborated with the author. It was during these taped interviews for the book that Diana confirmed her eating disorder for the first time, revealing (via Elle), "The bulimia started the week after we got engaged. My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: 'Oh, a bit chubby here, aren't we?' and that triggered off something in me."

Diana later spoke to Martin Bashir about her bulimia in her infamous BBC Panorama interview, and while her openness upset many of her fans, she was also congratulated for raising awareness for the eating disorder. Lauren Smolar, the Senior Director of Programs at the National Eating Disorders Association, told Elle, "By sharing her story, Princess Diana encouraged people who recognized their own symptoms in her experience to seek diagnosis and treatment."

Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway has a rare chronic lung disease

As the wife of Crown Prince Haakon, the heir apparent to the Norwegian throne, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway is beloved by those in her country and across the world. Her story is one that has allowed people to believe in real-life fairy tales, as she was not only a commoner when she married her husband, but she was also a single mother of one. However, her fairy tale hit a roadblock in 2018 when the Norweigan Royal Court revealed that the princess had been diagnosed with an unusual medical condition.

The princess was diagnosed with a rare version of chronic pulmonary fibrosis, in which thick scar tissue forms on damaged lungs and makes it difficult for them to function correctly, according to the Mayo Clinic. While Mette-Marit claimed that she wanted to continue working and participating in royal events as much as possible, she was hit with another stumbling block in September 2022 when she was forced to cancel her public appearances after suffering unforeseen side effects of her medication. However, she did appear to be well enough to attend King Charles III's coronation in May 2023.

Princess Beatrice was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was seven years old

Like her younger sister, Princess Beatrice is pretty down to earth. As a non-working royal, Beatrice doesn't have access to the public money that her working royal relatives do, which means that she has a nine-to-five job to pay the bills. In Beatrice's case, she serves as the vice president of partnerships and strategy at the artificial intelligence company Afiniti. However, Beatrice believes that she wouldn't have been able to succeed in her career if it weren't for the help and advice she received when she was diagnosed with dyslexia.

Beatrice was seven years old when it became apparent that she was struggling with her reading and writing, so she was tested for the learning disorder. When the results revealed that she did indeed have dyslexia, Beatrice decided to view it from a positive perspective rather than something that should tear her — or anybody else with dyslexia — down. She told Hello!, "I really want to change the narrative around the diagnosis. Even referring to it as a diagnosis I feel does a disservice to the brilliance of some of the most fantastic minds that we have." To help do that, Beatrice became a patron for the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre in 2013 and has worked with the charity ever since.

Catherine, Princess of Wales' sleep struggles have taken a toll on her health

With her slender frame and beautiful skin, it should come as no surprise to learn that Catherine, Princess of Wales takes care of herself. From her workout routines (which include planking and a Swiss gym ball) to her eating habits, Kate Middleton is arguably one of the healthiest royals. However, her life has changed dramatically over the past few months — and this has taken a toll on her.

After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Kate transformed from Duchess of Cambridge to the Princess of Wales, and now that her husband is officially first in line to the throne, Kate's responsibilities have increased. Royal commentator Jennie Bond spoke to OK! about Kate and Prince William's new roles, stating that it has been a "brutal [work] schedule for William and Catherine and they've got a very young family." As a result, Kate seems to be struggling to sleep.

During a visit to an army training center in Pirbright, Surrey in September 2022, Kate was reportedly overheard talking to the troops about not getting enough sleep (via Hello!). This is understandable, given her current situation. However, it's been reported that Kate has some nifty tricks to use when she's struggling to sleep. Not only does she make sure that she's in bed by 10:30 each night, but she also eats her dinner at 6 p.m. to ensure that her food is fully digested.

Prince Harry also suffers from migraines, just like his wife

From the death of his mother to the challenges of being the second-born son, Prince Harry has been extremely open and honest about how the events he's faced in his life have affected his mental health. According to Page Six, Harry wrote in his memoir that his mental health spiraled when he returned home from Afghanistan in 2013, and he began to suffer immensely with "alternating between periods of extremely debilitating lethargy and terrifying panic attacks." It's also been suggested that his mental health affected his decision to leave the royal family.

However, Harry hasn't just dealt with his mental health. In the past, he has also experienced issues with his physical health — a connection he shares with his wife, Meghan Markle. That's because Harry has also suffered from migraines. He revealed this fact in his memoir "Spare," where he reportedly wrote about the migraine he developed while hiking the South Pole in 2013. Luckily, medics were on hand to help him out during this episode. "Medics pitched a tent, laid me flat, gave me some sort of anti-migraine injection ... When I came to, I felt semi-revived," he wrote.

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden suffered from anorexia when she was younger

Although the future queen of Sweden always looks well put together and seems to live a perfect life, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden has faced many challenges over the years. As well as having to fight back against the criticism her husband has faced, Victoria has also dealt with her own health woes. To be more specific, the princess suffered from anorexia during her teenage years.

Victoria's diagnosis of anorexia was officially acknowledged in 1997 after the then-20-year-old princess was photographed looking extremely thin. Although she didn't speak out about her condition at the time, she decided to open up about her experience during a two-part documentary for the Swedish television channel TV4 in 2017. In "Crown Princess Victoria, 40 Years," filmed to celebrate her 40th birthday, she confessed that she put aside her original plans to study at Sweden's Uppsala University when her eating disorder took its toll.

Her parents reportedly encouraged her to take time off to really focus on her health during this time, so she traveled to the U.S. to seek help. She explained (via Hello!), "In the U.S., I got professional help, which was really important for me." While this was a tough time for Victoria, the stars aligned when she returned home to Sweden. During one of her doctor-prescribed gym sessions, she met and fell in love with her personal trainer husband.

Catherine, Princess of Wales was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum while pregnant

In December 2012, a spokesperson for St. James' Palace revealed (via The Telegraph), "Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting a baby." While the announcement of the next heir to the throne came as a welcome surprise for royal fans, excitement soon turned to worry when the spokesperson also confessed that Kate had been admitted to hospital with hyperemesis gravidarum.

According to WebMD, less than 3% of pregnant women get hyperemesis gravidarum, which is an extreme form of morning sickness. If untreated, it could result in dehydration, weight loss, and premature delivery. Nevertheless, Kate and William welcomed a healthy and happy Prince George on July 22, 2013. However, that wasn't the end of Kate's experience with hyperemesis gravidarum.

Kate suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum throughout all three of her pregnancies, but she managed to find a way to cope with her diagnosis and her subsequent deliveries. The princess told the "Happy Mum, Happy Baby" podcast that she used meditation and mindfulness to deal with the pain — something she also utilized during labor. "It was through hyperemesis that I really realized the power of the mind over the body because I really had to try everything and everything to try and help me through it," she revealed.