King Charles is seen for the first time since a double royal health scare as he leaves Birkhall with Camilla ahead of prostate surgery next week – while Kate spends a fourth day in hospital.

King Charles III and Queen Camilla were photographed driving in Aberdeen this morning ahead of the monarch’s hospital visit next week.

King, who was at his private home in Birkhall, Aberdeenshire, is preparing for corrective surgery after being diagnosed with a benign enlarged prostate.

Buckingham Palace, in an unprecedented double whammy for royal health, announced the news on Wednesday just 90 minutes after Kensington Palace revealed the Princess of Wales had undergone abdominal surgery and would spend two weeks in hospital.

The 75-year-old monarch, who came to the throne 16 months ago and was crowned at Westminster Abbey last May, will be admitted to hospital next week.

Yesterday, Camilla said she was «fine» and «looking forward to getting back to work».

King Charles III and Queen Camilla are pictured driving in Aberdeen today

Charles and Camilla are seen in Aberdeen today before the King goes to hospital next week

She was on a solo visit to Aberdeen Art Gallery to open its new Safe Space, an initiative providing help and guidance to people if they suspect someone is living with domestic violence.

When the Lord Provost asked him about the King, Camilla replied: “He is fine, thank you very much. I look forward to getting back to work.”

Camilla appeared cheerful, adopting the keep calm and carry on approach often associated with the late Queen.

Meanwhile, the Princess of Wales is spending her fourth day in hospital today after being visited by her husband, the Prince of Wales.

William kept Kate company at her bedside in a London clinic during a private trip to see his wife yesterday.

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The future queen was admitted to a private hospital on Tuesday for successful abdominal surgery, which Kensington Palace said was planned.

She is said to be «doing well» but will remain at the exclusive clinic for 10 to 14 days and is not expected to return to official duties until after Easter.

The heir to the throne, William stepped down from official duties for several weeks to look after their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis and look after his wife.

The family live at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park and will be supported by their staff, including loyal, long-term nanny Maria Teresa Turrion Borrallo.

King Charles and Queen Camilla arrive at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral for church on January 14

King Charles III arrives at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham on 7 January

Kate’s family, Carole and Michael Middleton, and siblings Pippa Matthews and James Middleton are also expected to help the Waleses over the next few months as the princess recovers.

The family of inspirational children’s fundraiser Tony Hudgell are among those who have sent a get-well message to the princess, urging her not to try to be «Superwoman» and rush back to work too soon.

With the king expected to be in hospital next week and William – next in line to the throne – and Kate out of action for the foreseeable future, Charles’ slimmed-down monarchy – with three of the most senior royals missing – has come under pressure. an unprecedented manner during his reign.

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Joe Little of Majesty magazine said the health problems had compounded the problem facing the small group of working royals.

Mr Little said: “The working royals have been under pressure to maintain the level of commitment undertaken by a much larger team in previous years.

«The sudden removal of the three oldest players due to health issues will compound the problem considerably, but at least the king will only be out for a relatively short time.»

Charles will visit Flitcham Church of England Primary Academy in Norfolk on January 5

King Charles III and Queen Camilla at church in Sandringham on Christmas Day last month

The Queen is still in service, joining the Princess Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra as the current functioning monarchy – with the latter two appearing increasingly fragile in recent years. .

They are all in their 70s and 80s, except for Edward, who turns 60 in March, and Sophie, who turns 59 tomorrow.

Prince Harry, whose controversial allegations have left the royal family on edge, and disgraced Prince Andrew remain in the line of succession but have both stepped down as working royals.

Charles – a known workaholic – often stays late at his desk, handling his correspondence and official documents until the early hours of the morning, but generally enjoys good health and keeps fit by walking and gardening.

He postponed a number of engagements and was ordered by doctors to take it easy.

The 75-year-old monarch, who held the record for the country’s longest-serving heir apparent, ascended the throne in September 2022 following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who had been head of state for 70 years.

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Meanwhile, new data showed there was a significant increase in searches for ‘enlarged prostate’ on NHS websites after the King shared his diagnosis.

Kate, Charlotte, George, William and Louis at the Sandringham Christmas Day service 2023

The prostate enlargement page on the NHS website had more than 11 times more hits on Wednesday than on Tuesday.

There were 16,410 visits to the site on Wednesday – an average of one visit every five seconds – compared with 1,414 visits on Tuesday, NHS England officials said.

Experts said the king’s desire to share his diagnosis of an enlarged prostate will lead to an increase in the number of men with symptoms of the condition seeking help.

It is understood that Charles, 75, was happy to share his diagnosis to encourage other men who may have symptoms to get tested in line with health advice.

One in three men over the age of 50 will have symptoms of an enlarged prostate including more frequent trips to the toilet with greater urgency and difficulty emptying the bladder.

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