Princess could have been hunchback

Last updated 05:00 04/06/2011
Princess Eugenie
UPRIGHT: An operation at the age of 12 saved Britain's Princess Eugenie from developing a hunchback.

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Princess Eugenie has revealed she underwent major surgery as a child to save her from developing a hunchback.

The 21-year-old royal has told of the agonising eight hour operation to repair a severe curvature of the spine at the age of 12. Eugenie, who is the youngest daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, is now proud to be a role model for children with the same condition, which is also known as scoliosis.

The princess opened up about the painful memory during a recent visit to London's Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, where she met patients who were undergoing the same intense surgery.

Eugenie described the impact of the life-changing procedure. "I've got good memories coming back even though I'm slightly scared of hospitals," she told British newspaper The Telegraph. "I wouldn't look the way I do. My back would be hunched over. I wouldn't be able to talk the way I do about it and help other children who come to me with the same problem."

While visiting the medical unit where she was treated, Eugenie offered encouragement to a young patient. She revealed the pain eventually subsides.

"It hurts so much, I was in so much pain," she said. "Get better!"

Her scoliosis was discovered by accident, and it is the first time the princess has spoken about the operation.

The young royal is proud of being a role model for fellow sufferers. The redhead wants to be able to put a positive outlook on other peoples' situations.

"I wouldn't be able to talk the way I do about it and help other children who come to me with the same problem. It was a huge part of my life when I was 12 - so young. Children can see me and know [the operation] works," she explained.

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