It’s a big year for royal weddings, as Prince Harry recently married American actress Megan Markle, and Prince Andrew’s daughter with ex-wife Sarah Ferguson Princess Eugenie has just announced her engagement as well.
For those who have followed Eugenie since childhood, there is special pleasure in seeing her strong and healthy almost twenty years after she was diagnosed with a severe case of scoliosis, for which she required surgery at the age of 12.
Scoliosis is an often painful condition that forces a person’s spine to curve. Since the time of her surgery, Eugenie has become a well-regarded ambassador for the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) where her surgery took place, and spoke about her experience to mark International Scoliosis Awareness Day.
Speaking to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Staff, Eugenie said, “[I was] told that I would need corrective surgery. This was, of course, a scary prospect for a 12-year-old; I can still vividly remember how nervous I felt in the days and weeks before the operation.“Her surgery took eight hours, and involved surgeons inserting 8-inch titanium rods into the side of her spine and 1 ½” screws at the base of her neck.
Though she was confined to a wheelchair immediately after the surgery, she was soon up and about. Now as an adult, she is sharing the X-rays from her long-ago surgery via Instagram to provide encouragement to those who are currently dealing with the same diagnosis.
“I’m very proud to share my X Rays for the very first time,” she wrote. “I also want to honour the incredible staff at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital who work tirelessly to save lives and make people better.”
In response, she received many texts from the 25,000 viewers of her post, including those shown here.
“Amazing and thank you for sharing. My daughter (now 16) had similar operation March 2017 after having to wear a back brace for two years. She is 2” taller (now 5ft 6”). She has made a full recovery. Has just completed her GCSE’s and in her words felt like a ‘Princess’ at her Prom last week. Thanks to all the amazing team at Alder Children’s Hospital.”
“Thank you for sharing, Princess Eugenia. I have scoliosis too and had ten vertebrae fused when I was 14 in 1974 in Los Angeles. Bone fragments fused the correction maintained in a body cast for 15 months! No problems since, two healthy pregnancies, too! Thank goodness for modern science!”
“A very brave thing to do with something so personal and private. Well Done x.”
To show her appreciation for the life-changing surgery they provided to her, the princess has been involved in raising funds for a new redevelopment of the hospital and a building will be named for her – the “Princess Eugenie House.”
“Without the care I received at the RNOH I wouldn’t look the way I do now; my back would be hunched over. And I wouldn’t be able to talk about scoliosis the way I now do, and help other children who come to me with the same problem,” Eugenie explained. “I’m living proof of the ways in which the hospital can change people’s lives.”
Scoliosis surgery can change lives. If you need information on how our spine specialty practice in New Jersey can help you, contact us today to set up an appointment.