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What’s going on with the fingers of King Charles III?

Tim Rooke – Pool WPA/Getty Images

King Charles III turns out to be the living embodiment of “getting attention for all the wrong reasons” as the recently established monarch of the UK is the subject of much speculation because of his – as the internet and we quote – his ” sausage fingers”.

The former Prince of Wales never managed to command the unanimous support of his subjects and was not exactly a favorite as the next to take the throne after Queen Elizabeth II. Apparently his bad luck persisted. Even now, when he’s finally become King Charles, his rise to the throne barely managed to make headlines before other things took over the spotlight – like him planning to demote or worse, to directly lay off at least 100 employees from his former home, Clarence House.

The understandable outrage over the decision has now been directed to another aspect of the king’s life – openly debating and troll his peculiar fingers. The internet is full of comments and memes, often depicting sausages, intended to poke fun at the royal family member.

It’s not the first time the appearance of King Charles’ inflated numbers has become the hot topic of memes everywhere – though it’s certainly picked up significant momentum since he gave up his Prince of Wales title. His fingers have been debated and mocked for years.

Instead of being offended, he took it in stride. As revealed in the biography Charles, the man who will be king by Howard Hodgson, he even used the term jokingly in a letter he wrote to a friend after Prince William was born to share how his son has “sausage fingers like mine.”

Last year, it already sparked major speculation when a photo of him at an event in south London drew fans’ attention to his visibly swollen hands.

But no matter how many jokes are made at the king’s expense, the cause of the disturbing appearance of Charles’ fingers remains a mystery.

Possible reasons for King Charles’ swollen fingers

King Charles III
Ben Stansall – Pool WPA/Getty Images

Given the chatter surrounding all the whats and whys of Charles’s red, swollen hands, Dr Gareth Nye – senior lecturer at the University of Chester – offered plausible explanations in a conversation with the daily star.

Dr. Nye acknowledged that there are many conditions that can cause bloating in certain parts of the body. But in the case of King Charles, who is the oldest person to become a monarch in the UK when he ascended the throne at the age of 73, the reason could be oedema, arthritis or water retention.

“Edema is a condition in which the body begins to retain fluid in the limbs, normally the legs and ankles, but also in the fingers, causing them to swell. Edema is a common condition and mainly affects people over the age of 65 because the ability to control fluids is limited.

Dr Nye explained that if edema is the root cause here, there is a way to find out for sure – by ‘pressing on the swollen area for about 15 seconds’ as this will cause a ‘depression in the area’.

Arthritis could also be the cause of Charles’ constant finger swelling, as it has been known to prominently affect those over their 60s. In this case, the thumb joint and/or one of the finger joints are mainly affected, resulting in fingers that become “stiff, sore and swollen and although medication can relieve the pain, the swelling may persist “.

Another less common but equally plausible reason could be the king’s diet – which could be high in salt – his blood pressure or his steroid medications. Although the chances of them causing swelling are rare, it’s still on the cards.

Amid continued speculation about Charles’ fingers, an underlying heart condition giving them their bloated appearance is a growing concern. But in his calculated diagnosis of the king’s health – although purely based on his appearance in public appearances – Dr Nye assured that nothing fatal is affecting the current monarch.

“There are no immediate health concerns to conclude from swollen fingers and it is most likely a sign of his age.”

It’s entirely possible that one of the above diagnoses is what the king is suffering from. But the bottom line remains that while the world continues to speculate, King Charles III continues to discharge his duties with perfect ease and so far neither his age nor his fingers have been seen impeding the same thing.