Pregnant Princess Eugenie visits London hospital where she had an operation for scoliosis as a child

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Princess Eugenie cut an elegant figure as she revisited the London hospital where she had an operation for scoliosis as a child.

Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, 32, opted for a monochrome houndstooth coat with a black midi dress and matching knee-high boots for her trip to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, of which she is patron.

Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, visited the hospital’s Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit for the first time to see where the life-changing prosthetics are made.

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The occasion today no doubt held a special significance for Eugenie as she underwent surgery at the hospital to correct scoliosis – curvature of the spine – when she was just 12 years old. 

She said: ‘I am delighted to be here today to once again see the life-changing work taking place at the hospital. This is a charity which is very close to my heart. 

Princess Eugenie (pictured with a patient) cut an elegant figure as she revisited the London hospital where she had an operation for scoliosis as a child

Princess Eugenie (pictured with a patient) cut an elegant figure as she revisited the London hospital where she had an operation for scoliosis as a child

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‘After everything I went through as a child with scoliosis, I know from my own experience how debilitating an orthopaedic condition can be.’ 

The royal continued: ‘It has been inspirational to meet those here today who have benefitted from the expertise of the hospital’s staff and services and hear first-hand how truly life-changing this has been for them, as it was for me when I was a child. 

‘The RNOH Charity is integral to what the hospital achieves in delivering such stellar care for so many people.’

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The visit coincides with the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (RNOH) Charity’s launch of its new campaign to make the ‘Impossible, Possible’ for people who face complex orthopaedic conditions.

The charity supports the work of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital which treats patients of all ages with difficult orthopaedic conditions, including spinal cord injuries, bone cancer, scoliosis, and acute hip and knee problems.  

Eugenie – who is pregnant with her second child – became Patron of the RNOH Charity’s Redevelopment Appeal in April 2012 and subsequently the RNOH Charity in March 2019.

She met a number of patients who are being treated at the hospital including two-year-old Posie-Aurora Sadler-Smith from Suffolk, who suffers from a rare disorder fibular hemimelia which meant her bones in her lower limbs did not develop properly. 

The family first met with the team at the hospital when Posie’s mother was pregnant and began treatment when Posie was just six months old.

Queen Elizabeth II's granddaughter, 32, opted for a monochrome houndstooth coat with a black midi dress and matching knee-high boots for her trip to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, of which she is patron

Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, 32, opted for a monochrome houndstooth coat with a black midi dress and matching knee-high boots for her trip to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, of which she is patron

Her mum, Jodie Weeder, 27, said ‘We cannot thank the RNOH and the RNOH Charity enough for giving Posie the chance to walk using prosthetics. 

‘Its support over the last two years gave us hope for her future and allowed her to be able to do things that all children of her age should be able to do; run around and play, and in particular dance, something she loves to do. 

‘Seeing her stand up for the first time on both her prosthetic legs, truly was amazing – they really have made the “impossible, possible” for our little girl.’

The Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit’s work includes the provision, maintenance, and repair of artificial limbs together with a rehabilitation service provided by a multidisciplinary team for a range of patients from young children to veterans. 

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Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew , the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York , visited the hospital's Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit for the first time to see where the life-changing prosthetics are made

Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew , the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York , visited the hospital’s Prosthetic Rehabilitation Unit for the first time to see where the life-changing prosthetics are made

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Meanwhile, the charity’s campaign aims to raise awareness about the incredible work of RNOH and the charity, which needs more than £1million a year over the next three years to ‘strengthen RNOH’s role as a world-class centre for orthopaedic medicine’.

WHAT IS SCOLIOSIS?

Scoliosis is the sideways curvature of the spine, which can cause uneven shoulders and lead to clothes that fit poorly. 

The condition is thought to affect up to three per cent of people in the US and UK and usually arises during a growth spurt just before puberty. 

Treatment is not always necessary for mild scoliosis cases. However, a brace can help stop the curve worsening as patients grow older. 

If the scoliosis is progressing rapidly in a young child, rods may be inserted that straighten the spine and adjust in length as the patient grows.

Surgery may be required for severe cases, which can reduce the amount of space in the chest and make it difficult for the lungs to function. 

The most common procedure is called a spinal fusion, which is a major surgery that helps to correct the curve, the NHS says. It can last up to seven hours.

It involves connecting two or more bones in the vertebrae so they cannot move independently. Metal rods or screws keep the backbone straight. 

Scoliosis can be caused by cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, birth defects, injuries or infections. However, its cause is often unknown.  

As well as funding the overall improvements to the patient experience and clinical research, the money raised will also fund specific items such as state-of-the art imaging equipment, transforming the spinal cord injury centre’s day room and further pioneering orthopaedic research.

Eugenie was diagnosed with scoliosis and underwent corrective surgery aged just 12, with a pair of eight-inch titanium rods inserted alongside her spine to rebuild it as a result of a curvature.

The operation resulted in a prominent scar, which Eugenie wore with pride, opting for a backless gown for her wedding to Jack Brooksbank in October 2018.

In an interview before the wedding, the princess said: ‘I think you can change the way beauty is, and you can show people your scars and I think it’s really special to stand up for that.’

Rosie Stolarski, Chief Executive Officer of the RNOH Charity said: ‘Over the last 100 years the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital has been performing the impossible and achieving things that no other hospital can, and that’s what makes this hospital extraordinary. 

‘But being extraordinary needs major investment so we have launched this campaign so that our charity can ensure the hospital will continue its pivotal role in rebuilding people’s lives and help to make the impossible, possible for so many more who need it.

‘We need to raise more than £1 million this year to continue to support our hospital’s visionary plans. 

‘This means continuing to support essential programmes that help enhance staff wellbeing and morale; fund the valuable volunteer service; contribute to crucial research and cutting-edge equipment; and support much-needed redevelopment projects.’

Dominic Dodd, Chair of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital added: ‘It’s fantastic to have the charity launch the Impossible, Possible campaign in support of RNOH. 

‘Every day our staff are changing people’s lives, relieving suffering and pain, often when nothing seemed possible any more. 

‘The funds raised by the charity help to strengthen the vital services we provide for our patients and provide such welcome support for our wonderful staff.’

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