She exudes radiant good health, so the news – released by Kensington Palace yesterday – that the Princess of Wales has undergone abdominal surgery at the London Clinic will have given rise to some concern.
These days, spending up to two weeks recuperating in a hospital, even a private one, is becoming increasingly rare. But it is reassuring that this was a planned operation and not an emergency.
This would have minimised the possibility of any untoward complications – the surgery performed calmly, with all available specialists present, working as a team without undue pressure.
It is neither safe nor is it good manners, to speculate on private matters involving health. We do, however, have a natural concern for the woman who will one day be our queen.
At the age of 42, she is very active and has given birth to three children without, as far as we know, complications.
A non-smoker, the Princess of Wales is of slender build and undoubtedly has the lowest possible risk for any type of surgical operation.
Elective abdominal surgery in a woman from this age group is quite uncommon. It might include an appendectomy or gallstones – this is, in fact, one of the most common of all elective operations and typically performed via keyhole surgery.
Ovarian cysts occur in some women, requiring surgical removal, again by minimal access surgery. Other patients in this age group might undergo a hysterectomy.
At times, surgery is required for the repair of a hernia, and even young, fit muscular women may develop these.
Our much-respected princess has been advised to rest and remain away from her public engagements for a full two months – she’s ‘unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter’, according to the official announcement.
If she were my wife and subject to any of the above procedures I would insist on the same, even though there would be no doubt that there would be pressure from her employer to return to her desk within a week or two.
Nevertheless, a general anesthetic and abdominal surgery of almost any nature does require weeks to allow for good healing.
In a mother with three children, who has a busy professional life, it is certainly the case that the Princess of Wales should be allowed a private and restful convalescence.
All too often in this era, we are expected to be back at work too soon without the opportunity for such gentle considerations and I am both glad and relieved that she has been awarded this – even if her doctors had to over-rule what I suspect would have been her own insistence on returning to work promptly.