Royals

Princess Eugenie opens up about her struggle with scoliosis

The 28 year-old royal shared her X-rays for the first time.

By Alex Lilly

Princess Eugenie's Instagram has given us some great insight into what life as a member of the British royal family is like, especially with her adorable throwback photos.

But it was her post for International Scoliosis Awareness Day that showed the ninth in line to the throne in a different light. Princess Eugenie, who has suffered with scoliosis since the age of 12, shared two of her own X-ray pictures to raise awareness for the condition, and thank the hospital that treated her.

On her Instagram, Princess Eugenie wrote, "I'm very proud to share my X Rays for the very first time. I also want to honour the incredible staff at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital who work tirelessly to save lives and make people better. They made me better and I am delighted to be their patron of the Redevelopment Appeal."

Princess Eugenie met with staff at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.
Princess Eugenie met with staff at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.

Princess Eugenie was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) at just 12 years old and was told that she needed corrective surgery.

In an article on the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital's website, the Princess revealed, "This was, of course, a scary prospect for a 12-year-old; I can still vividly remember how nervous I felt in the days and weeks before the operation. But my abiding memories of the RNOH, where the surgery was carried out, are happy ones - everyone there was so warm and friendly, and they went out of their way to make me feel comfortable and relaxed.

She then described how her eight-hour operation involved doctors inserting eight-inch titanium rods into each side of her spine and one-and-a-half inch screws at the top of her 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."

Fast forward to the present day, and Princess Eugenie is now patron of the hospital's Redevelopment Appeal, and the new state-of-the-art facility, Princess Eugenie House, has been named after her.

"Without the care I received at the RNOH I wouldn't look the way I do now; my back would be hunched over. And I wouldn't be able to talk about scoliosis the way I now do, and help other children who come to me with the same problem. My back problems were a huge part of my life, as they would be for any 12-year-old. Children can look at me now and know that the operation works. I'm living proof of the ways in which the hospital can change people's lives."

Princess Eugenie's X-ray photos gave a rare insight into her battle with scoliosis.
Princess Eugenie's X-ray photos gave a rare insight into her battle with scoliosis.
The Princess's surgery involved eight-inch titanium rods into each side of her spine and one-and-a-half inch screws at the top of her neck.
The Princess's surgery involved eight-inch titanium rods into each side of her spine and one-and-a-half inch screws at the top of her neck.

Though this isn't the first time that Princess Eugenie has spoken out about scoliosis. Speaking at youth charity event, WE Day, in March, the royal praised her big sister Princess Beatrice for her support.

"It could have impacted my life and stopped me from doing the things I love, you encouraged me not to get disheartened, not to give up, to live fearlessly. Today I am so lucky to get to work with and support other young women who are going through the same thing, to encourage them, to not let their diagnosis win, to live fearlessly too.

Princess Eugenie, the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, is set to marry her fiance Jack Brooksbank in November this year.

"I'm living proof of the ways in which the hospital can change people's lives."
"I'm living proof of the ways in which the hospital can change people's lives."