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What’s the story behind King Charles’s ‘sausage fingers’?

Photographs of the King’s swollen-looking fingers have gone viral on several occasions

Maanya Sachdeva
Wednesday 05 July 2023 11:25 BST
King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla arrive at Westminster Abbey for coronation

King Charles III will be formally presented with the Scottish crown jewels today (Wednesday 5 June) as hundreds of military personnel gear up to march through Edinburgh ahead of the special ceremony.

The former Prince of Wales ascended the throne following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest-serving monarch. He was crowned King in the coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey on 6 May.

Fans of the royal family have previously expressed concern for the king over photos in which his fingers appeared excessively red and swollen.

Follow our live blog for all the latest updates on today’s Edinburgh ceremony.

The images have prompted speculation from various members of the medical community, who have suggested the swelling could be caused due to a condition called oedema.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), oedema is characterised by swelling in the arms, hands, ankles, feet, and/or, legs. This swelling is usually caused by a fluid retention in these areas, as per the NHS’ website.

However, the King’s hands have been a topic of discussion since the day of his birth, as his late mother the Queen observed in a letter to her former music teacher.

According to The Mirror she wrote: “The baby is very sweet and we are enormously proud of him. He has an interesting pair of hands for a baby.

“They are rather large, but with fine long fingers quite unlike mine and certainly unlike his father’s. It will be interesting to see what they become. I still find it hard to believe I have a baby of my own!”

King Charles also referred to them himself, once in a letter to a friend after Prince William’s birth.

As quoted in Howard Hodgson’s biography Charles, The Man Who Will Be King, the 73-year-old wrote: “I can’t tell you how excited and proud I am. He really does look surprisingly appetising and has sausage fingers just like mine.”

Charles and Camilla stand behind the bar after the former prince pulled a pint, during a visit to Clapham Old Town, to celebrate the reopening of non-essential shops as Covid coronavirus restrictions were eased (AP)

His digits also drew national attention in May 2021.

On 27 May 2021, Charles and the former Duchess of Cornwall Camilla travelled to Clapham Old Town in South London to celebrate the re-opening of non-essential stores as Covid restrictions were eased.

Many wondered whether the swelling was due to a health condition, after a photograph of Charles pulling a pint of beer went viral.

Charles’ hands also appeared visibly swollen during a 2019 trip to India, as seen in photographs obtained by Metro.

The King isn’t the only member of the royal family to have poked a bit of fun at his “sausage fingers”.

In 2018, Prince William made a lighthearted reference to them during a speech on the occasion of Charles’s 70th birthday.

The now-Prince of Wales expressed his desire for Charles’s “sausage fingers” to stop writing so many letters, so that he could spend time with his grandchildren.

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