The Duke of Edinburgh was flown to hospital yesterday amid growing fears for his health.
Buckingham Palace stressed last night that he was not an emergency case and was being treated for a ‘pre-existing condition’.
But the Mail can reveal that Philip, 98, was flown by helicopter from the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk to London before being driven to the King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone.
It has also emerged the Duke ‘had a bad fall’ which left him bed-bound, palace sources confirmed.
But Philip has always been renowned for being ‘tough as an ox’ and ‘incredibly active throughout his life’, royal biographer Ingrid Seward said.
Prince Philip, pictured here in February 2018, was flown to London from his home in Sandringham for hospital treatment for a pre-existing condition, Buckingham Palace has announced
The Queen, pictured as she waited for her train to depart King’s Cross station in London for Norfolk at the start of her Christmas break, arrived at Sandringham shortly before her husband was flown to London
The Duke of Edinburgh has been admitted to King Edward VII hospital in Marylebone, London
The Queen, pictured centre left, started her official Christmas holiday yesterday arriving at Kings Lynn station on the Royal Train, shortly before her husband was airlifted to hospital
The dash came as his wife left Buckingham Palace for Sandringham, where she hopes he can still join her for Christmas.
Sources confirmed that the duke has not been in the best of health in recent weeks as he battles a flu-like condition.
Philip has lived alone in a farmhouse at Sandringham since his retirement from public life in 2017. He is said by royal insiders to be increasingly frail.
Royal biographer Ingrid Seward says ‘tough as an ox’ Philip and the Queen are ‘used to spending large amounts of time apart’
Royal expert Ingrid described the Duke as ‘tough as an ox’ in the aftermath of yesterday’s helicopter dash.
She told the Mirror: ‘Philip has always been renowned for being as tough as an ox and incredibly active throughout his life.
‘It is no surprise the Queen has carried on with her Sandringham plans while he is in hospital.
‘Since the early days of their marriage when he was still serving in the Royal Navy they were used to spending large amounts of time apart and have always managed to be very independent of each other while remaining incredibly supporting of one another.’
‘The duke has had a bad turn recently and has been looking much frailer of late,’ one said. ‘He’s a remarkable man who has always prided himself on how robust he is, but he is six months off his 99th birthday and age takes its toll. He hasn’t been looking terribly well of late.’
In a statement issued yesterday afternoon, Buckingham Palace insisted that the duke’s hospital stay had been planned.
It said: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh travelled from Norfolk this morning to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition. The admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’s doctor.’
It is understood Philip was not taken by ambulance and was able to walk into the hospital unaided.
A royal source told the Sun: ‘The Duke had a bad fall and was confined to bed for a couple of days.
‘He didn’t break anything, but it gave everyone a scare. ‘
The royal is expected to be in hospital for a ‘few’ days, but the Palace was unable to confirm whether he would be released in time for Christmas.
Officials declined to comment when asked to confirm that he had been brought to London by helicopter, or to share further details of his health.
The monarch wore a pretty rose-coloured ensemble as she arrived in King’s Lynn today
The Queen, pictured arriving in King’s Lynn, was spotted doing paperwork on the train journey
Police officers guard the entrance to King Edward VII Hospital where Prince Philip was admitted
A police officer stands outside the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on Friday afternoon
Last night the only sign of his presence at the King Edward VII Hospital was several police officers guarding the main entrance.
Philip flew the 120 miles from Norfolk to London as his wife left Buckingham Palace planning to join him in Sandringham for their annual Christmas break.
Looking radiant in a pink coat, pearls and light blue headscarf with a sweep of fuchsia lipstick, the 93-year-old monarch was driven on to the platform at King’s Cross station in London by her official Bentley to catch the 10.42am Great Northern train to King’s Lynn in a rare concession to her age.
98-year-old Prince Philip’s recent health scares and hospital admissions
Prince Philip has boasted excellent health for a 98-year-old and has repeatedly insisted he has not had the flu for more than 40 years.
Not to be cowed by his ill health in recent years, he still enjoys an active life and continues with his carriage driving, which he took up in 1971 after retiring from polo.
In 1961, the Duke broke a bone in his left ankle in a collision on the polo field.
Polo also left him suffering from arthritis in his right wrist, a condition made worse by shaking many thousands of hands at official function.
But in recent years he has struggled a little more with illness. These are the recent, most high-profile cases.
December 2011: The prince is airlifted to hospital from Sandringham two days before Christmas after suffering chest pains, and undergoes surgery for a blocked coronary artery.
June 2012: Philip is taken to hospital after developing a urinary infection during the river pageant to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
June 2013: Philip has abdominal surgery for an undisclosed condition and spends 11 days in hospital, including his 92nd birthday.
December 2016: Both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh suddenly cancel plans to leave London for their festive break in Norfolk after they both come down with heavy colds.
June 2017: Philip admitted to hospital as ‘a precautionary measure’ for an infection arising from a pre-existing condition, the Palace said
April 2018: The Duke of Edinburgh spends 11 days in hospital following his successful hip replacement
December 20, 2019: Philip, 98, left Sandringham to attend the King Edward VII Hospital in London.
She could be seen smiling through the train window and arrived in Norfolk at 12.31pm.
After descending carefully on to the platform, she was driven the last ten miles to her estate.
Palace sources suggested that the Queen was sufficiently relaxed about her husband’s health to still make the journey.
But the monarch is also a stickler for tradition who hates letting people down, and would likely have made the journey anyway.
She also rarely visits even her closest relatives in hospital.
It is not known whether Philip will receive any other visitors during his stay and it is likely to depend on how his treatment progresses over the weekend.
But the proud duke will also no doubt be keen to have the minimum of fuss and it is understood that other members of the Royal Family, including the Prince of Wales, who has engagements on Monday visiting victims of the floods in Fishlake, South Yorkshire, are not cancelling their existing plans just yet.
The duke, who will celebrate his 99th birthday next June, has enjoyed largely excellent health for most of his life, appearing to recover well from a planned hip replacement in April last year.
He even escaped with minor injuries after a car crash near Sandringham in January, which led him to voluntarily give up his licence, but was said to have been left deeply shaken by the incident.
But over the past decade he has been admitted to hospital for abdominal surgery, bladder infections and a blocked coronary artery, which also saw him flown to hospital by helicopter.
The duke has rarely been seen since his retirement from public duties, apart from at the odd family engagement.
He was last spotted over the summer, enjoying the Royal Family’s annual sojourn at Balmoral.
Prince Philip, pictured in Balmoral, is expected to spend a few days in hospital before being discharged and returning to Sandringham to his family
Duke of Edinburgh’s appearances and health since retirement
The Duke of Edinburgh has travelled to King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition, Buckingham Palace confirmed today. Here is a timeline of Philip’s appearances and health since his retirement from public life in August 2017:
- May 4 2017 – Buckingham Palace announces the duke is to retire. Tributes are paid to his years of royal duty.
- May 10 and May 17 – Days later, Philip, then 95, is out and about carriage-driving at Windsor and at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
- June 10 – The duke celebrates his 96th birthday.
- June 13 – The Queen and Philip visit Slough railway station in Berkshire to mark the 175th anniversary of the first rail journey by a monarch.
- June 17 – The duke helps the Queen mark her official 91st birthday at the annual Trooping the Colour parade.
- June 20 – Philip spends the day at Royal Ascot, where temperatures are so sweltering that the dress code in the Royal Enclosure is relaxed for the first time. But that evening, he is admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London as a precautionary measure, for treatment for an infection arising from a pre-existing condition.
- June 21 – The duke misses the State Opening of Parliament. The Prince of Wales steps in to accompany the Queen.
- June 22 – Philip is discharged from hospital after a two-night stay.
- June 25 – In his first public outing since being in hospital, the duke drives himself to the Royal Windsor Cup Final at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park.
- August 2 – On his final official engagement as he retires from public duties, Philip strides with ease around the forecourt of Buckingham Palace in the pouring rain, meeting Royal Marines.
- November 11 -The duke makes an appearance at the Royal Albert Hall for the Festival of Remembrance.
- November 12 – Philip joins the Queen as she watches from a balcony for the first time rather than laying a wreath at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony. Concerns are expressed for his health when he appears to lean against a pillar for support while standing during the Whitehall service.
- November 20 – A week later, the duke is carriage driving at Windsor on the day of his platinum wedding anniversary, and he and the Queen celebrate in the evening with a party for more than 100 family and friends.
- December 21 – The Queen and the duke travel by train from London to Norfolk for the start of their traditional Christmas break at Sandringham.
- December 25 – The duke joins the royals at church, as Prince Harry’s bride-to-be, Meghan Markle, spends her first Christmas with the Windsors. Philip attends Sunday church throughout his stay in Sandringham in January and early February.
- March 22 2018 - Philip reportedly pulls out of a rare engagement with the Queen and Duke of York, marking Andrew’s new role as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, because he is under the weather.
- March 29 – He misses the Maundy Thursday service with the Queen because of a problem with his hip.
- April 1 – The duke is not present at church in Windsor on Easter Sunday.
- April 3 – Philip is admitted to the King Edward VII’s Hospital ahead of a planned operation on his hip.
- April 4 – The palace says the duke has had a successful hip replacement operation, and is progressing well, but will remain in hospital for several days. ‘He is comfortable and in good spirits,’ says a spokesman.
- April 13 – Philip leaves hospital, waving to the media as he is driven away to Windsor Castle to recuperate.
- May 11 – The duke makes his first public appearance since convalescing after his surgery when he is seen at the wheel of his Land Rover Freelander, chatting to the Queen, at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
- May 19 – Philip walks unaided as he attends the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding in Windsor.
- June 10 – Philip turns 97.
- October 11 – Buckingham Palace tweets a photo of the duke meeting the head of the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at Windsor Castle.
- October 12 – Philip attends the wedding of his granddaughter Princess Eugenie.
- November 14 – Philip joins the Queen at a glittering private black-tie party held for the Prince of Wales on his 70th birthday at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen pays tribute to their eldest son on behalf of them both.
- December 19 – The duke is seen being driven to Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s annual Christmas lunch.
- December 25 – Philip misses the royals’ traditional Christmas Day outing to church but is said to be in good health.
- January 17 2019 – The duke is involved in a car crash when the Land Rover Freelander he is driving flips over after being in collision with another vehicle near the Sandringham estate.
- January 18 – The duke undergoes a medical following the incident.
- January 19 – Photographs of the duke emerge driving a Land Rover at Sandringham just two days after the crash, in the pictures he was not wearing a seatbelt.
- January 24 – ITV News unearth archive interview footage of a man, known only as Mr Coopy, with whom the duke was involved in a collision in 1964 in the village of Holyport in Berkshire.
- January 27 – The duke writes to Emma Fairweather wishing her a ‘speedy recovery from a very distressing experience’ following the crash on January 17.
- February 9 – Buckingham Palace announces the duke has voluntarily surrendered his driving licence ‘after careful consideration’.
- May 7 – Prince Philip makes his first public appearance since the car crash when attending the Order of Merit lunch alongside the Queen at Windsor Castle.
- May 18 - Little more than a week later the duke attends the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside other royals including the Queen.
- June 21 – The Duke is photographed alongside General Sir Nicholas Carter and General Patrick Sanders on June 21 as part of his role as Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles
- December 20 – The duke travels from Norfolk to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition.
RICHARD KAY: Prince Philip may still be sprightly at 98 but he hasn’t been the same since THAT car crash
Somehow it was typical of Prince Philip to check himself into hospital on the very day the Queen was due to join him at Sandringham for Christmas.
If there could be any reassurance to be drawn from his unexpected admission for medical treatment, this was surely it.
He is a man who doesn’t like a fuss at the best of times and this was his way of saying there’s nothing to worry about.
Prince Philip is pictured driving on the Sandringham estate. Now, unless he is within royal estates, he has to be accompanied by a driver. This loss of independence has hit him hard
Even at 98 he can be brusquely dismissive of inquiries about his health.
But if the treatment for a ‘pre-existing condition’ was indeed planned as has been reported, the manner of his arrival at the King Edward VII Hospital suggests some degree of urgency.
He was flown by helicopter from Sandringham, the Norfolk estate where he now mainly lives, to London where police motorcycle outriders escorted his car through busy traffic to the hospital in Marylebone.
Although details of the treatment have not been specified by Buckingham Palace, I understand it is something he has undergone previously.
A friend explains: ‘He knows what to expect.’
Even though he emerged from the collision – in which his Land Rover Freelander flipped over – without serious injury, the accident impacted his life in other ways. The scene of the accident is pictured above
After more than 72 years of happy marriage, the Queen still feels a need to show her love and gratitude to the man who she emotionally described on their 50th anniversary as her ‘strength and stay’
King Edward VII Hospital in London: Royals’ favourite where Philip, the Queen, Charles, Kate and the Queen Mother have all been treated – and where Princess Margaret sadly died
Prince Philip has been admitted to the the King Edward VII Hospital in Central London (pictured here, when Queen Elizabeth II recovered after she was admitted with symptoms of gastroenteritis in 2013)
Prince Philip will be in familiar surroundings at the private hospital in Westminster after being previously admitted for a ‘pre-existing condition’ in April 2018.
The hospital, which only has 56 beds across its wards, was set up in 1899 to treat former servicemen and the general public as soldiers returned from the Second Boer War.
King Edward VII became the hospital’s first patron in 1901 and it continues to be recognised by the royal family today.
In recent years, it has been used by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cambridge.
In 1995, the Queen Mother had her right hip replaced during an operation at the hospital.
The 90-minute operation was carried out at the famous hospital and she had had treatment there before.
Meanwhile, in 2002, Princess Margaret suffered a stroke and died at the hospital at the age of 71.
In June 2017, the Duke of Edinburgh stayed there for two nights after he was treated for an infection which forced him to miss a royal event.
He was said then to be suffering from an infection triggered by a ‘pre-existing condition’.
The Duke was admitted on that occasion on the advice of a doctor and the setback forced the Duke to miss the State Opening of Parliament and some of Royal Ascot.
And in 2018 he spent 11 days there as he had his hip replaced.
Indeed, Philip was understood to be in good spirits and was said to have been laughing and joking with staff on his admission.
He arrived in London just ten minutes after the Queen had left the Palace by car for King’s Cross where she caught a train to Norfolk. In another reassuring sign, it was felt there was no need for her to delay her departure.
If all goes well it is hoped that the Duke of Edinburgh will be able to leave hospital after two nights and be back at Sandringham well before Christmas.
However, at such an age, no hospital visit can realistically be described as ‘routine’ and there will naturally be some anxiety within the Royal Family.
At the same time, his admission to hospital raises questions about his increasingly solitary life at Wood Farm, his bolthole on the Sandringham estate which he has turned into a homely retreat since retiring from public life two and a half years ago.
To start with, he found it an even more rewarding experience than he dared hope when he stood down from royal duties in 2017, particularly because he was no longer answerable to anyone but himself.
But this year things have changed following his narrow escape in a car accident in January.
Even though he emerged from the collision – in which his Land Rover Freelander flipped over – without serious injury, the accident impacted his life in other ways.
He was back behind the wheel in days, but shaken by the depth of public criticism that greeted that decision, it was announced that he had voluntarily given up driving on public roads.
Now, unless he is within royal estates, he has to be accompanied by a driver. This loss of independence has hit him hard.
‘It means if he wants to go anywhere he is dependent on somebody else, and things can’t be as spontaneous as he likes,’ says a courtier.
He does still drive alone and in August was seen navigating off-road tracks on the Balmoral estate.
Inevitably, because he has outlived so many of his friends, he spends quite a lot of time on his own.
The most devoted visitor, outside his family, is Penny (Countess) Mountbatten. The 66-year-old estranged wife of Earl Mountbatten has been constant company in recent years ever since she took up carriage driving. Indeed, the two still like to ride together but these days only in warm weather.
He does still drive alone and in August was seen navigating off-road tracks on the Balmoral estate. Inevitably, because he has outlived so many of his friends, he spends quite a lot of time on his own. He is pictured above at Balmoral with Sophie and James Viscount Severn
Philip’s ponies were recently moved to Windsor, prompting fears that he was giving up the sport. In fact the horses were simply switched to Windsor for the winter months and will be made ready for him next spring.
Apart from the Queen, Philip sees more of Lady Mountbatten than any other woman and her presence at Wood Farm, where she helps to take care of him, is said to make him happy.
I can reveal that last month Philip and the Queen went to Broadlands, the Mountbatten ancestral home in Romsey, Hampshire – where they spent their honeymoon in 1947 – for a weekend.
I understand Philip was keen to visit the house which holds so many happy memories of the early years of his marriage.
He has also spent a weekend at Windsor, and the Queen travelled to Wood Farm for a short break with her husband.
Prince Edward and his 12-year-old son James have also been recent visitors.
Compared with other royal homes, Wood Farm is spartan and while spacious is modestly furnished and has open fires.
He loves it there and has made it his retirement base, reading, writing letters and working on his archive.
‘He is enjoying reading things he’s always wanted to read, mainly biographies, and gets up to what he wants without an equerry or a private secretary telling him he has to be somewhere else,’ an old acquaintance says.
The archive work is especially important.
I can reveal that last month Philip and the Queen went to Broadlands, the Mountbatten ancestral home in Romsey, Hampshire – where they spent their honeymoon in 1947 – for a weekend. The pair are pictured above in the grounds for their honeymoon
‘He doesn’t like throwing things away,’ I am told. ‘He keeps all his correspondence and he feels it will be an important record for historians of the future.’
This way of life comes with his wife’s blessing. After more than 72 years of happy marriage, the Queen still feels a need to show her love and gratitude to the man who she emotionally described on their 50th anniversary as her ‘strength and stay’.
All the same, it is surprising for a couple who have been together for so long to be spending more time apart as they reach such a remarkable landmark in their lives.
But as a courtier explains: ‘The Queen feels the duke has earned a proper retirement. She knows him too well. If he was still at the centre of royal life he’d feel he had to be involved.’
However, there are times when he is bored and gets frustrated that he cannot do quite as much as he did before.
‘It’s a frustration borne out of old age, his mind is still young,’ says an acquaintance.
Of course, the duke is rarely completely alone. His two pages from Buckingham Palace, William Henderson and Stephen Niedojadlo, take it in turns to spend a week with him.
There is also a rota for a valet and, on occasions, a footman. They all sleep at Wood Farm while a housekeeper lives out. A Palace chef completes the staff.
It is all very informal, however. No member of staff wears traditional livery and everyone shares the same kitchen which divides the duke’s dining room from the staff dining room.
The Royal couple are pictured doing the same pose in the grounds in 2007. He has also spent a weekend at Windsor, and the Queen travelled to Wood Farm for a short break with her husband
According to insiders, Philip has recently been in good health and was certainly well enough to sign a pile of Christmas cards at the end of last month.
He still walks quite quickly with one hand behind his back, as of old.
Indeed, one figure who saw him recently at a family event tells me: ‘He strode out like a man of 45, it was extraordinary.’
But of course he has had health setbacks over the years. The fact is, he has never really been the same since the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee seven years ago when, just short of his 91st birthday, he contracted an infection after spending four hours on his feet in the rain and cold during a pageant on the River Thames.
Abdominal surgery, bladder infections and a blocked coronary artery have seen Prince Philip admitted to hospital on a number of occasions. And last year he had an operation under general anaesthetic on his hip.
Mostly he has taken ailments in his stride, but at 98 the recovery time is longer and harder.
All the same, who wouldn’t bet that within a day or two Philip will be back at the Queen’s side welcoming their family for the royal Christmas gathering?
Iron Duke with an iron constitution
At 98, Prince Philip is in better health than many men his age but the Iron Duke has suffered a few scares in recent years.
In January he walked away from a car crash close to the Queen’s Sandringham Estate with barely a scratch on him.
But the experience was understood to have left him badly shaken.
The accident was just weeks after he missed joining the Royal Family at church on Christmas Day due to a heavy cold.
Prince Philip, pictured, took up carriage driving in 1971 when he retired from playing polo
In April 2018, Philip had a hip replacement but amazed medical staff with his swift recovery, walking unaided at Prince Harry’s wedding the following month.
More seriously, Philip was rushed into Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire for emergency heart surgery at Christmas 2011 after suffering a blocked artery, which involved him having a stent fitted. He was also forced to pull out of several key engagements to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 having developed a severe bladder infection.
In 2013 he was admitted to hospital for what palace officials described as ‘exploratory’ abdominal surgery.
He only began to use hearing aids in 2014, aged 93, but is said to have been frustrated by his failing eyesight of late.
Philip is already the longest-serving consort in British history and the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch.
His good health is in part down to his active lifestyle as a younger man. He has always been a keen sportsman, taking up carriage driving in 1971 when he officially retired from playing polo.
Philip represented Britain at several European and World Championships and continued to compete into his early 80s. He still enjoys the sport recreationally.
In 2010 he escaped major injury in a carriage driving accident, while a female groom half his age was taken to hospital.
Aides have always admitted it is difficult to persuade Philip to slow down and he cannot bear anyone making a fuss.
But he finally announced his retirement from public life in May 2017.
The following month he missed the State Opening of Parliament due to an infection and in August made his last official public engagement at the age of 96.
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