RICHARD KAY: The double whammy of King Charles and Princess Kate’s medical treatment sends chills down our spines

For women around the world, she is as celebrated for her beauty and poise as she is envied for her smiling and radiant energy. A young mother whose willowy body and shiny hair are the very foundation of good health.

So the news that the Princess of Wales has undergone abdominal surgery and will remain in hospital for two weeks is deeply shocking.

After mourning the slow decline and death of the late queen, a bulletin about Catherine sent chills down the spines of royal fans. People are struggling.

No sooner had the announcement sunk in than it was revealed that the king was also to be admitted to hospital for treatment of an enlarged prostate.

Never before has there been a double dose of royal medical bulletins to remind us of the frailty of the human condition.

Following the sadness of the late Queen’s slow decline and death, the Princess of Wales and King Charles bulletins sent chills down the spines of royal fans.

Without Andrew or Harry, it means it’s up to Princess Anne and her brother Prince Edward to keep the royal show on the road

King Charles is to be admitted to hospital for treatment of an enlarged prostate, Buckingham Palace has announced

Meanwhile, the Princess of Wales underwent abdominal surgery at a London clinic and will remain there for around 10 to 14 days.

But while King, at 75, is at an age where such procedures can be expected and faced, Kate radiates youth and grace.

She’s 42, a birthday she only reached last week, but given her toned and trim figure, which she keeps in great shape by jogging in Windsor Great Park, she could pass for someone a decade younger.

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Everything he does seems to require no effort. And yet it’s the future queen who, it’s safe to say, has secured the long-term future of the monarchy — not just through her three adorable children, but also with the indispensable kind of Middleton magic she’s brought to her marriage.

Perhaps its greatest advantage is constant stability. It has never been more important than at the start of a reign riven by the twin threats of embittered Prince Harry and scandal-mongering Prince Andrew.

And it’s because there seems to have been so much about the Home Counties girl who first caught Prince William’s eye on the pier at St Andrews University more than 20 years ago that the unexpected revelation of her medical condition was so baffling and indeed, disturbing.

Kate is not only the glue in her immediate family, but also a smiling figure supporting the royal family, to which she has brought a much-needed twist of modernity.

She rarely makes a mistake and has quickly learned to avoid the pitfalls of public life, where appearance and presentation are everything.

She exudes just the right mix of warmth and discretion, sharing unguarded glimpses of the life of a royal wife without revealing more of herself or her family than is right or honestly necessary.

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

Princess Kate was seen cheering on scouts from 3rd Upton Scout Group in Slough at the Royal Carols Concert on December 8.

While opening the children’s surgery on December 5, Kate met Tony Hudgell, nine, a little boy who lost his legs after being abused by his parents.

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Kate arrives at the Royal Carols Concert at Westminster Abbey on December 8 last year

At the gig, Kate ducked down to chat to seven-year-old Oscar Burrow, from Lancaster, who raised more than £40,000 for Derian House Children’s Hospice.

From the most somber state occasions, such as the funerals of Prince Philip and the Queen, to the glories of Jubilees and Coronations, he exudes calm, confidence and poise.

As the mother of George, Charlotte and Louise, she broke the mold and rejected the Windsor traditions that required her children to be isolated in a boarding school.

Even Princess Diana, for all her revolutionary zeal, could not achieve this.

And she did it all without relying on the legions of hotties that normally make up the royal household.

Which is why, of course, Prince William has a daunting few weeks ahead of him, perhaps with schoolwork, organizing a bath and reading a bedtime story.

Thanks to Kate, the three children enjoyed a childhood with two parents who shared responsibilities, so very different from William’s own experience at Kensington Palace.

The Princess of Wales knelt down to light Prince Louis’ candle at the concert

Kate was all white as she arrived at the annual Christmas concert

Princess Kate also attended a reception for members of the diplomatic corps at Buckingham Palace in London on December 5

It was no wonder, then, that aides readily signaled that William’s children, rather than royal duties, would be his priority in between time spent at his wife’s hospital bed – a refreshing and welcome change from the past.

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So the planned trips to Latvia and later to Rome and the Vatican will almost certainly be postponed.

The news of Kate being admitted to a London clinic and the proposed treatment for the King also served to show how shabby royal resources really are.

Without Andrew or Harry, that means it’s up to Princess Anne and her brother Prince Edward to keep the royal show on the road.

No wonder Anne recently scathingly remarked that there was not much room for further thinning of the monarchy.

For now, we’ll focus on Kate as she recovers from surgery. Kensington Palace declined to give further details beyond saying it was not cancer-related, although it added that he would need several months to recover and was unlikely to return to public duties until after Easter.

Her absence will be felt everywhere because she is the woman on whom so much and so much depends.

It’s not just William who hopes she can return to her place at his side with that shiny joie de vivre. So do we all.

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