Princess Eugenie Had Scoliosis at 12 and Is Opening Up for the First Time

"Without the care I received, I wouldn't look the way I do now."

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In an unprecedented move for a royal, Princess Eugenie, the first cousin of Prince William and Prince Harry, has shared personal details about living with scoliosis—a medical condition where your spine is curved.

In honor of International Scoliosis Awareness Day that took place on the last Saturday of June, she thanked the staff at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London for "making her better" and shared a picture of her x-rays for the first time. On Instagram, she wrote:

"Today is International Scoliosis Awareness Day and I’m very proud to share my X Rays for the very first time. I also want to honor the incredible staff at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital who work tirelessly to save lives and make people better. They made me better and I am delighted to be their patron of the Redevelopment Appeal."

The royal shared more details about her experience in a three-minute personal video where her father, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, made an appearance. Eugenie, 28, says that she was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 12, which was a "a scary prospect for a 12-year-old."

According to Eugenie, her corrective surgery took eight hours where the surgeons "inserted eight-inch titanium rods into each side of my spine and one-and-a-half inch screws at the top of my neck. After three days in intensive care, I spent a week on a ward and six days in a wheelchair, but I was walking again after that." Ouch.

The hospital is currently working to receive a redevelopment appeal "towards the infrastructure, specialist equipment and artwork for the new ward block," which Eugenie fully supports.

"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. My back problems were a huge part of my life, as they would be for any 12-year-old. Children can look at me now and know that the operation works. I’m living proof of the ways in which the hospital can change people’s lives."

Eugenie is one of the few royals who has a personal social media account, which she's clearly using for good (and fun!). Prince William has made an appearance in one of the posts and she shared a fun throwback of her and her older sister, Princess Beatrice of York.

In a few months, Princess Eugenie will marry longtime boyfriend Jack Brooksbank in a ceremony at Windsor Castle—the same location Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had their wedding.


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Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.