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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2007, 21:07 GMT
Camilla set to have hysterectomy
Duchess of Cornwall
Camilla has recently pulled out of two royal engagements because of a gastric bug
The Duchess of Cornwall is to have a hysterectomy, officials at Clarence House have revealed.

A statement described the surgery as "routine" and added that the duchess does not have cancer.

Camilla will have the operation at the beginning of March and will spend several days in hospital before going home to recover.

The spokeswoman added: "She is to carry out public engagements in advance of the operation.

"It is scheduled to enable the Duchess to accompany the Prince of Wales on an important foreign tour to a number of Gulf states."

The royal couple will visit Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates from 19 to 28 February.

After the surgery, the Duchess, who turns 60 this year, will recuperate for six weeks.

A hysterectomy involves the removal or partial removal of the womb and can be performed for a number of medical reasons.

These include fibroids or "lumps" in the uterus, cancer, and heavy or irregular periods.

The spokeswoman refused to discuss the reason for the operation, but said: "It's something that's being done on advice of her doctor, but is something that's very common for women of that age."

On Monday, Camilla met osteoporosis patients at the opening of a state-of-the-art medical centre in Chippenham, Wiltshire.

She had previously been forced to cancel two royal engagements in December and January because of bouts of gastro-enteritis.

Clarence House said those illnesses were not related to her current condition, but that the Duchess would have to cancel some planned engagements during her recovery.

According to the Evening Standard newspaper, the operation will take place at the private King Edward VII Hospital in central London.

Doctors there also performed keyhole surgery on the Queen's knees in 2003.

An explanation of the surgery Camilla is to undergo

Ill Camilla cancels opening event
05 Jan 07 |  North East/N Isles
12 Feb 07 |  Medical notes

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