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Kate Middleton Isn’t The Only Princess Who Battled A Public Health Crisis

Catherine, Princess of Wales, took the world by shock when she announced that she was undergoing treatment for cancer. This news came not too long after King Charles announced that he, too, was battling cancer. While much of the world was whispering about Kate and photoshopped pictures during her extended absence, we learned that the abdominal surgery she was recovering from was related to cancer. 

Neither King Charles nor Princess Kate’s cases were explained in detail by Buckingham Palace, which makes sense as the royals have a history of keeping their health problems a secret. Not just in Britain but in different parts of the world, keeping the lid on a royal’s medical crisis is a secret that eventually comes out for the public to learn about. Kate isn’t the only princess who battled her health issues in the spotlight – here are the other princesses who stayed strong through their diagnosis.

1. Princess Eugenie’s scoliosis surgery at age 12

When the daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York, was diagnosed with scoliosis (a condition where the spine curves abnormally), she was only 12. Although a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace called it a “very minor routine operation,” Princess Eugenie said in an essay written for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, where she underwent surgery, that it was a “scary process” involving an eight-hour procedure where titanium rods were placed inside her, resulting in multiple days of intensive care and time in a wheelchair. 

2. Princess Margaret’s major burns and multiple strokes

Queen Elizabeth II’s sister was one of the more entertaining royals who wasn’t afraid to have fun and party. However, she also experienced some tragedies later in life. At age 62, she went to the hospital for pneumonia, and just a few years later, she suffered a stroke. The year after, she experienced yet another stroke and also got burned severely on her feet when stepping into a piping-hot bath. In 2000, she suffered a stroke during Christmas with the royal family, and months later, another one in March 2001. That final one led to permanent vision issues, paralysis, and problems swallowing. She passed away less than a year later.

3. Princess Masako’s mental health trouble

Princess Masako of Japan, who belongs to the oldest hereditary royal family in the world, struggled with her royal role as many princesses do. She was diagnosed with adjustment disorder, which was related to conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression. Eventually, her condition improved.

4. Princess Anne’s memory problems

The hardworking Princess Anne, sister of King Charles III, was an Olympic-level equestrian. When she was training for the Olympics at age 25, her horse stumbled and rolled on top of her, causing a concussion, multiple bruises, and a painful hairline fracture on her vertebra. Although she recovered, the horse unfortunately stumbled again during the Olympics, leading to memory blackouts.

5. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway’s pulmonary fibrosis

This princess, who was once a single mom and former waitress, had her fair share of health struggles once she became a royal. In 2018, Norway’s royal court revealed that Mette Marit was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable condition where scarring of the lungs makes breathing progressively challenging as the years go on. After she went public with the disease, she explained that her diagnosis led her to more self-reflection in her life. 

6. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s eating disorder

This Swedish princess, the daughter of Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, was a teenager in the mid-1990s when the media and public noticed she had dropped a significant amount of weight. Eventually, the Swedish Royal Court confirmed that Victoria was diagnosed with an eating disorder. She put off plans to head to university and instead went to a treatment center in the United States. Opening up about the experience in a documentary years later, she said that getting professional help was essential to letting go of the impossible standards she set for herself. 

7. Princess Claire Of Luxembourg’s battle With COVID-19

In 2020, Princess Claire was one of the first royals in Europe to be diagnosed with the coronavirus. The diagnosis was significant, seeing as she had also been diagnosed with a mysterious health issue just months earlier. Due to the “lingering illness” and the COVID diagnosis, the princess was out of commission for a whole year, and her first appearance was in October 2021—she had been out of the spotlight for nearly two years before that. 

8. Princess Alexandria’s devastating diagnosis

Queen Elizabeth II’s first cousin, Princess Alexandria, a prominent member of the British royal family, was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica in 2013 at the age of 76 years old. PMR is an inflammatory medical condition that leads to exhaustion, constant pain, and severe muscle stiffness. Although she took some time off, she recovered speedily and always put her duty first due to her stoic personality. At 84, she broke her wrist and was forced to step back again, but she came back even stronger in 2021 when she returned to take on more responsibilities.

9. Princess Christina of Sweden’s cancer battle 

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden’s big sister announced in 2010 that she was battling breast cancer. Her treatment consisted of three different surgeries, and while the outcome was successful, she was diagnosed with chronic leukemia in 2016. She cut down on royal appearances as she underwent treatment, per the Sweden Royal Court’s official statement. She retired in 2018 to step back and enjoy her personal life after realizing that “life is not infinite.”

10. Princess Marie of Lichtenstein suffers a fatal stroke

Princess Marie joined the royal family when she married Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein in 1967. On August 19, 2021, the Princely House of Liechtenstein released a statement saying, “The Princely House regrets to announce that HSH the princess suffered a stroke yesterday.” Despite the short statement, the stroke was quite serious; just days later, on the 23rd, another statement was released telling the world that Marie had died at age 81.