Before her tragic death on September 8, Queen Elizabeth had fans concerned about exactly what was going on with her health. After initially canceling a trip to Northern Ireland, she spent a night in hospital in mid-October 2021, per AP, and then had to cancel a major engagement: her appearance at the COP26 climate summit. The then 95-year-old monarch was ordered by People to rest for at least two weeks. There was even talk of the Queen possibly stepping down from the throne for ill health, meaning then-Prince Charles would have risen as Britain’s next king.
Ultimately, that didn’t happen – perhaps because Charles faced a number of obstacles before he was crowned king: a cash for honors scandal, the fact that he’s actually not that popular in Britain, and a possible one own health concerns. In November 2021, an Instagram fan account dedicated to the royals posted pictures of Charles and Camilla’s trip to Jordan, during which they visited King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. While comments were mostly positive — “Lovely photos, nice to see Prince Charles and the Duchess using a PDA,” wrote one fan — one particular image in the series reveals what royal fans have worried about for years: the swollen hands of the King’s. Now that he’s officially ascended the throne, the conversation begins again. What is the cause of Charles’ unusually large fingers – and should royal supporters be concerned?
Are King Charles’s swollen hands part of a larger health problem?
King Charles’s swollen hands have regularly made headlines in recent years. On a trip to India in 2019, he was photographed with red, swollen fingers as well as swollen feet visiting a temple barefoot. More recently, his hands raised concern during Prince Philip’s funeral, when a fan tweeted (via Gloucestershire Live), “I never noticed Prince Charles’ hands until this photo! Is he alright?” Even a pub visit in May caused a stir when a Twitter user asked, “What’s wrong with his hands/fingers?” As Metro noted, the monarch was repeatedly snapped with his hands “painfully” swollen, and when he visited Australia in 2012, he himself is said to have joked about “sausage fingers”.
So what’s really going on? This question is becoming increasingly popular, and according to Woman&Home, between July 2021 and 2022, ‘sausage fingers’ was the fourth most Googled term in the UK. Such was the curiosity that the NHS actually issued health advice on the matter back in May. According to Spiegel, it narrowed down to edema or a “buildup of fluid” as the cause of the problem. Causes of edema range from standing or sitting for too long, to eating too much salty food, to something more serious like a blood clot or infection. However, the NHS notes that in most cases this is not a cause for concern and the swelling will go away on its own after a few days.”
Should the public be worried about King Charles III’s health?
After the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Charles automatically became King Charles III at the age of 73. Given his age, his accession to the throne has sparked renewed interest in his health, especially as royal observers have worried about his swollen, red hands for years. dr Gareth Nye, a senior lecturer at the University of Chester, spoke to the Daily Star shortly after Queen Elizabeth’s death to clarify the record of the new king’s well-being. He outlined several possible causes and addressed edema, which many have long believed is the reason for Charles’ sausage-like fingers.
like dr Nye explained, this is nothing particularly unusual or worrisome. “Edema is a common condition and primarily affects people over the age of 65 because of the reduced ability to control fluids,” he told the outlet. Another possible culprit is arthritis, which is a common condition in people over 60 and can lead to swollen fingers. Whatever the reason, Dr. Nye was adamant that there was nothing to fear. “There are certainly no immediate health concerns to infer from swollen fingers and that is most likely a sign of his age,” he concluded.
In May, during a royal visit to Canada, the king appeared to share an unexpected secret to healthy living: maple syrup! “It’s great stuff, great stuff,” he gushed, per Hello! “It’s good for you.” In fact, maple syrup is packed with a long list of minerals and antioxidants, according to WebMD, and may actually lower cholesterol and improve brain health, according to recent studies.