The King’s “sausage fingers” have been attracting speculation for years. And in recent weeks, some royal watchers have even claimed that Charles is deliberately hiding his hands in photographs.
Now, with the King the focus of worldwide attention at his coronation, a doctor has given some insight into what might be the cause of the swelling, visible in many earlier photos.
In 2012, the then Prince of Wales joked about his “sausage fingers” after getting off a flight to Australia. And he’s reported to have been aware of the condition more than 40 years ago, referring to it in a letter to friend after the birth of Prince William in 1982.
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While the 74-year-old King has never directly spoken about the reason, many royal fans have commented on his fingers, especially after seeing him pour a pint during a royal engagement in 2021.
At the time, one Twitter user wrote: “I’ve never noticed the hands of Prince Charles until this photo. Is he okay? They are so swollen.”
The medical term for severe swelling of the fingers and toes is dactylitis. And according to GP Chun Tang, medical director at Pall Mall Medical in Manchester, there are many reasons why it might happen.
Dr Tang told the Daily Mail: “Often puffy fingers are a symptom of water retention which can be caused by numerous health conditions.
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“This condition arises due to inflammation and can be a result of arthritis, multiple bacterial infections or even TB.
“Other possibilities include high salt levels, allergic reactions, medicinal side effects, injury and autoimmune disease.”
One biography of the King reports that he wrote to a friend after William’s birth: “I can’t tell you how excited and proud I am. He really does look surprisingly appetising and has sausage fingers just like mine.”
His late mother, the Queen, also noted the size of Charles’s hands, writing to her music teacher after his birth: “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.”
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