Melanie McDonagh

Enough with the King’s prostate

Do we really need all the intimate details?

  • From Spectator Life
The King leaves a clinic in central London on Monday (Getty Images)

How very nice that the King is now out of hospital, back home and, will, we are told, soon be back in business with his red boxes. Is it too much to hope that we can be spared further updates on his condition? 

‘All Hail the King’s Prostate Honesty’. Oh yuck. Can we stop?

We have, I think, heard enough about his enlarged prostate. Charles has been praised for being so open about his diagnosis in the hope that it will encourage other men to investigate this important organ. NHS England declared that the ‘enlarged prostate’ page on its website was read every five seconds on the day of the King’s diagnosis, which is terrifically gratifying. The Telegraph was terrifically upbeat about Charles ensuring that men ‘do not die of embarrassment’. Its headline read, ‘All Hail the King’s Prostate Honesty’. Oh yuck. Can we stop?

No doubt many men don’t make enough fuss about their prostate. But do we really have to know any more? Do we need constant news about the King’s organ? Couldn’t he have gone quietly into hospital for a ‘minor operation’ and then let it be known in a few months’ time what the problem was? Did we need regular updates from the press office? 

My own preference would be for reticence about these things. It’s not that men shouldn’t be getting to know their urologist, or that one is unsympathetic to the problem, not having a prostate. Kate has let it be known she went into hospital for an abdominal problem and that’s already too much information. If she explained that she had, say, an ovarian cyst or something gynaecological, there’d be a rash of feature pieces about cysts. But it would still be more than we need to know.

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