Royals With Scars & The Stories Behind Them

Scars are a powerful metaphor for the physical, psychological, and physiological changes that our bodies go through with time. Scars tell the story of the lives we have lived. They are art. They are poems in honor of our struggles and progress. Recent years have shown more people fiercely embracing their scars. The time to hide your scars with makeup or an elaborate tattoo is gone. Today, we are proudly displaying our scars like a medallion from life for getting through adverse times, whether it might be childbirth, a childhood accident, or a life-changing procedure.

A quick look at the Twitter hashtag #scarsarebeautiful is proof enough of this. Many celebrities including Kylie Jenner, Selena Gomez, and Perrie Edwards have been bravely open about their scars and the life events that gifted them with the said scars (via Cosmopolitan). Many members of the British royal family also spot scars. Some of them are open and proud about their scars, while others, not-so-much. Read on to find out who these royals are and how they ended up with their scars.

Princess Catherine of Wales has a head scar from a childhood operation

While there is very little information regarding Princess Catherine's famous three-inch scar, it has been the center focus of a royal controversy. In 2011, when the photos of the princess' first-ever solo royal engagement came out, royal watchers and fans started questioning the suspicious-looking mark spotted on Princess Catherine's left temple area. Many claimed that it was an extension rack and that the princess' beautiful brown tresses were fake. Within a few hours of tabloids printing the news and calling out the princess for wearing hair extensions, a spokesperson for the then-Duchess at St James's Palace clarified that she sustained the scar after a serious operation she underwent as a child (via E! News).

The princess and palace authorities did not indulge in details about the accident or how it occurred, but many royals experts speculate that the origin of the scar might be related to a hockey match (via Hello!). However, this could be the reason that the Princess of Wales almost always wears her hair down. Other times, she styles her hair in ways that always cover up her scar. 

Prince William has a Harry Potter scar from a golf accident

Like his wife, Prince William also has a facial scar, although, unlike her, he is quite open about the scar on his forehead and its origin story. He has even nicknamed it his "Harry Potter scar." The Prince of Wales owes his scar to a childhood golf accident — he was hit with a golf club when he was 8. In a 2009 interview given to the BBC, the prince dived into details about his scar: "Got hit by a golf club when I was playing golf with a friend of mine. We were on a putting green and the next thing you know there was a seven-iron and it came out of nowhere and it hit me in the head."

The prince also said that while some people notice the mark, others don't. "I call it [my Harry Potter scar] because it glows sometimes and some people notice it — other times they don't notice it at all," he shared (via the BBC).

Princess Eugenie has a back scar from scoliosis surgery

The Prince of Wales isn't the only royal family member who has publicly acknowledged their scars. The youngest child of Prince Andrew, Princess Eugenie has also been quite public about the back scar she sustained after a spinal surgery she underwent at the age of 12 due to scoliosis. Not only has the royal icon shared her experience, but the princess is encouraging her followers to also be proud of their scoliosis scars.

In 2020, the princess took to her Instagram story to share a close-up picture of her back scar and some of her proud followers with similar scars. "Earlier this year, I shared this pic of my scar. I was sent a lot of photos in response and I wanted to share some with you today as my #throwbackthursday," the royal wrote (via People). She also added that "Scars are beautiful" and encouraged her fans to share stories with her about where they have scars that show their strength. This isn't the first time the princess has displayed her scar. Previously, during her 2018 wedding, Princess Eugenie was pictured wearing a wedding gown with a deep back cut that proudly showed off her scars.

King Charles has a facial scar from a polo accident

King Charles is no stranger when it comes to operations, accidents, and injuries. A polo enthusiast and player, the sport has blessed the king with multiple fractures and injuries on many occasions. From the appendix removal procedure he had as a kid to the nose bridge surgery he had in '08, the king is known to make frequent visits to the hospital. Moreover, the king's back problems have also been frequently documented. "I don't think I have ever needed an osteopath so much as I have today," he joked (via Express & Star) following a 2003 visit to a Sikh Temple in Southall where he had trouble sitting on the hard floor. "My back is not altogether geared to sitting on the floor so I may need some help on my way out."

While speculations are that the king has many scars due to his vulnerability to accidents, the one in question here is the two-inch crescent scar on his left cheek. According to Express & Star, King Charles sustained this particular facial scar after a 1980 polo accident. Reportedly, the king "was thrown and kicked by his pony during a polo match at Windsor and needed six stitches."

Meghan Markle has a scar on her feet from surgery

In 2018, the Duchess of Sussex took off her heels and decided to go barefoot for a Māori welcoming ceremony during an official visit to New Zealand. The pictures from the visit were taken up by tabloids and royal family fans for a slightly different reason — a scar on the inside of her left foot.

According to a report by The Sun, the scars are a result of the 2014 foot surgery that the former actor underwent because of bunions. Reportedly, Meghan Markle was spotted with bunions during the 2013 New York Week Fashion and with a fresh-looking pink scar in 2015. A bunion is a "painful bony bump that develops on the inside of the foot at the big toe joint" (via the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons). This is a mostly genetic condition that is more common in women than in men.

Queen Elizabeth I had facial scars from being affected by smallpox

Historically speaking, Queen Elizabeth I also had multiple facial scars. In 1562, at the age of 29, the queen was struck with a bout of then-deadly, now-eradicated smallpox. The disease usually affects people by causing rashes that develop into blisters that would split before drying, leaving the skin with scars. According to historians, contracting smallpox and the after-effects of it leaving permanent scars on her face was the reason Queen Elizabeth I resorted to the "clown face" makeup that went on to make her the most recognizable monarch in the history of Britain.

Historian Anna Whitelock in her book "The Queen's Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth's Court" claims that queen refused to believe that she had contracted the disease during its initial stages. According to Whitelock, when the German physician, Dr. Burcot, initially confirmed that she had the disease, the queen sent him away calling him a "fool." Apparently, it was only after her health condition deteriorated further that the queen accepted the diagnosis (via The New Zealand Herald).