Prince Philip is today spending his ninth day in hospital with an infection – his longest unplanned visit for a decade or more – and will remain there for several more days.
Officials did not reveal further details of the Duke of Edinburgh‘s condition but said the 99-year-old was ‘comfortable and responding to treatment’.
It was the first update on Prince Philip since royal aides announced that the Queen’s consort had been admitted to the private King Edward VII Hospital in London last Tuesday for ‘observation and rest’ after falling ill.
There was positive news yesterday when Philip’s youngest child Prince Edward revealed that he and the other royals had been keeping their ‘fingers crossed’ for the Iron Duke – but he was doing ‘a lot better’.
Prince Philip gets into a car as he leaves King Edward VII Hospital in London during a previous visit in December 2019. He will stay there for a few more days this week
The Duke was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London’s Marylebone, pictured this morning
More balloons from well-wishers arrived outside the hospital yesterday for the Queen’s husband
The Duke’s stay at the hospital in Marylebone entered its ninth day today – his longest medical admission for at least a decade without a pre-planned operation.
Philip, 99, remains in the exclusive private hospital amid continuing concerns for his health after the palace initially said he was only expected to stay in for a few days.
From a blocked coronary artery to a urinary infection, Prince Philip’s ailments over the past 10 years
Prince Philip has enjoyed excellent health for a 99-year-old and still enjoys an active lifestyle.
But in recent years he has struggled a little more with illness, suffering from a number of ailments over the past decade, including:
· December 2011, four days in hospital: Prince Philip is airlifted to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire from Sandringham two days before Christmas after suffering chest pains, and undergoes surgery for a blocked coronary artery
· June 2012, six days: Philip is taken to hospital after developing a urinary infection during the river pageant to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
· June 2013, 11 days: He has abdominal surgery for an undisclosed condition and spends his 92nd birthday in hospital
· December 2016: Both the Queen and Philip suddenly cancel plans to leave London for their festive break in Norfolk after they both come down with heavy colds
· June 2016: The Duke pulls out of a Battle of Jutland anniversary event citing a minor ailment
· June 2017, three days: Philip is admitted to hospital as ‘a precautionary measure’ for an infection arising from a pre-existing condition
· April 2018, 11 days: The Duke spends nearly a fortnight in hospital following his successful hip replacement
· December 2019, five days: He is treated at King Edward Hospital in London for a ‘pre-existing condition’
February 2021: Prince Philip is admitted to hospital for treatment for an infection
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said in a statement: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh remains at King Edward VII’s Hospital where he is receiving medical attention for an infection. He is comfortable and responding to treatment but is not expected to leave hospital for several days.’
Edward, who lives at Bagshot Park in Surrey with his wife Sophie and children Lady Louise and Viscount James, revealed he had spoken to Philip on the phone. The Earl of Wessex told Sky News: ‘He’s a lot better and he’s looking forward to getting out, which is the most positive thing. So we keep our fingers crossed.’
Asked if the Duke was frustrated at being in hospital, Edward added: ‘Just a bit! I think that gets to all of us, and then, you can only watch the clock so many times and the walls are only so interesting.’
Edward also said thank you on behalf of the Royal Family for all the ‘brilliant and lovely messages’ which Philip ‘really appreciates’ and had been passed on.
The Earl had been speaking to Sky News for an upcoming report about the positive impact of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme on young people.
This afternoon’s statement was the first update Buckingham Palace had given on Philip’s health since he was admitted for treatment for what had until yesterday been an unspecified issue last Tuesday.
Reacting to the announcement, former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt tweeted: ‘Hard facts aren’t often deployed by officials when dealing with sick royals. A week on, we now know Prince Philip has an infection; is staying in hospital much longer than planned; and is likely to be climbing the walls rather than being ‘in good spirits’.’
The Queen’s husband has been in hospital seven times in the past decade – but his current stay is the longest visit apart from two planned operations on his hip and abdomen where he needed 11-days in hospital both times.
However for ‘precautionary’ visits for illnesses including recurring urinary infections and a blocked artery, he has been home within five days.
The Duke was admitted last Tuesday for ‘observation and rest’ after being taken ill – but was said to be in ‘good spirits’.
Philip, who will turn 100 on June 10, had until yesterday been in for an undisclosed reason, but it was always known that it was not coronavirus-related.
There was some good news yesterday when Prince William revealed that his grandfather was ‘OK’ in hospital, adding that doctors were ‘keeping an eye on him’.
The Duke of Cambridge was asked how Philip was doing during a visit to a vaccination centre in King’s Lynn and replied: ‘Yes, he’s OK, they’re keeping an eye on him’.
Two people at the scene claimed William then lightened the mood by giving a playful wink, but this was not visible in video footage of the exchange.
William also spoke to NHS staff and volunteers about being involved in the Covid-19 vaccination programme with Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.
It comes after Prince Charles made a 200-mile round trip to see Philip in hospital over the weekend, which royal experts claimed may have been to reassure the Duke about his other grandson Prince Harry and the continuing turmoil caused by Megxit.
Charles’s surprise visit to Philip’s bedside on Saturday afternoon is likely to have touched on the ‘momentous’ events since he was admitted to hospital last Tuesday.
Royal author Penny Junor said while she did not know the reason for Charles’s visit, Harry is likely to have come up.
The Duke of Cambridge wears a face mask as he visits a coronavirus vaccination centre at Kings Lynn Corn Exchange
She said: ‘Momentous things are happening in the family at the moment and I suppose it’s perfectly possible that Charles wanted to go and talk to his father and reassure him about Harry.’
How chest infections are caused and treated
Buckingham Palace revealed that Prince Philip is being treated for an ‘infection’ without further details.
One of the most common infections is a chest infection, with the elderly particularly at risk of suffering them.
These infections of the lungs or airways are common especially after a cold or flu during autumn and winter.
The main types are bronchitis, caused by viruses; or pneumonia, by bacteria.
They usually spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and tiny droplets of fluid containing the virus or bacteria are breathed in by others.
The main symptoms can include a persistent cough; coughing up phlegm or blood; breathlessness; wheezing; a high temperature; a rapid heartbeat; chest pain or tightness; and feeling disorientated.
A GP will normally only prescribe antibiotics if they think someone has pneumonia, or if they have a risk of complications such as fluid building up around the lungs.
Doctors can normally diagnose a patient based on their symptoms and by listening to their chest using a stethoscope.
Further tests such as a chest X-ray, breathing tests and testing phlegm or blood samples can also be necessary.
The hospital’s website states visitors will ‘only be considered in exceptional circumstances’. Philip has received no further visits from royal family members since Charles.
The duke was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday evening as a precautionary measure after feeling unwell. He is said to have walked in unaided.
His eldest son Charles made a 200-mile round-trip from his home at Highgrove in Gloucestershire on Saturday afternoon.
Charles was the first member of the royal family to visit the duke and it is understood that his visit was due to his father’s extended stay.
There are no further visits to the duke by family members, though police and security cars remained in place at the hospital.
Sources previously said that Philip was likely to remain in hospital into this week for ‘observation and rest’.
Heart-shaped balloons and a letter written by a ten-year-old boy from North London, wishing the duke a quick recovery, were tied to the hospital railings.
Meanwhile, Princess Eugenie introduced her newborn son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank to the world over the weekend.
Eugenie, 30, said on Instagram that he was named in part after Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert, whose full name was Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel.
The baby’s name also includes a tribute to the princess’s grandfather Prince Philip, 99, who had remained in hospital over the weekend.
Eugenie shared a photo on Instagram with husband Jack Brooksbank, 34, and their new arrival wrapped in a blue blanket almost two weeks after his birth on February 9.
The post said: ‘Thank you for so many wonderful messages. Our hearts are full of love for this little human, words can’t express.’
Baby August – the Queen’s ninth great-grandchild – will not have a royal title or role.
Meanwhile William is said to have been left ‘really sad and genuinely shocked’ by his brother’s behaviour towards the Queen after Harry and Meghan were cast out as working royals.
Prince Charles, pictured following his visit to the Duke of Edinburgh in London on Saturday afternoon, made a 200-mile round trip to spend half an hour at Philip’s side
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s controversial interview with Oprah Winfey was filmed at their mansion in California, where they are pictured in the garden last September
The Duke of Cambridge is said to be ‘very upset by what has happened’ and feels Harry has been ‘insulting and disrespectful’ to their grandmother.
Harry and Meghan want to ‘drive powerful conversations’ through podcasts
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have appeared for the first time since Buckingham Palace confirmed their departure was permanent.
The couple feature briefly in a Spotify video which also has appearances from former US president Barack Obama, veteran rock star Bruce Springsteen and pop star Justin Bieber.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex feature briefly in a Spotify video which was released last night
Harry and Meghan signed a multi-year deal last year with audio streaming service Spotify to host and produce podcasts. So far, one episode has aired which saw their son Archie make his broadcast debut.
The couple giggled with delight as they coached Archie to say ‘Happy new year’ during the final seconds of the show in December, which featured Sir Elton John speaking about his hopes for ‘healing’ in 2021.
Commentators speculated that Harry and Meghan will have to draw in large audiences if they are to justify the lucrative contract their production company Archewell Audio signed.
In the Spotify Stream On video yesterday, Meghan, who is sat on a sofa next to Harry, says: ‘We’re using podcasting to drive powerful conversations.’
Harry continues: ‘That inspire, challenge, and educate.’
Former actress Meghan, dressed in a sleeveless dress, adds: ‘We created Archewell Audio to make sure that we can elevate voices that maybe aren’t being heard, and hear people’s stories.’
Harry then says: ‘And the biggest part of this is trying to create this community of where you can share. We encourage everybody else to then share their own vulnerabilities within that safe space.’
Referring to the Stream On online event, the Spotify website says: ‘During Stream On, we’ll explore the power of audio, the journey of creation, and the opportunities ahead for millions of creators and billions of fans around the world. You’ll hear from a number of speakers, from global artists to Spotifiers to world-renowned storytellers.’
The relationship between the two brothers was strained before Friday’s announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been stripped of their remaining roles after their 12-month trial separation from royal life and move to the US.
The couple then issued a sharp rebuke, declaring they would offer ‘continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role’.
They signed off: ‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’
Sources close to the monarch told The Sunday Times that the riposte was ‘petulant and insulting to the Queen’.
A source told the Mail: ‘Their statement in response to the Queen’s heartfelt sentiment that the couple are still much-loved members of her family was considered highly disrespectful.’
The source added: ‘At the end of the day this was all their [Harry and Meghan’s] decision.
‘They asked to explore an ‘alternate way’ but the only alternative is that you are either a public servant or you aren’t. She made her view clear from the start and hasn’t ever deviated from that.
‘People [in the household] would have liked a different outcome. Harry and Meghan clearly could have made a very positive contribution to public life in the UK. But from the start they made clear they were only ever interested in pursuing this quasi-royal role.
‘It seems Harry genuinely thought he could persuade Her Majesty of the merits of that. But she has always been clear on this point – you cannot pursue commercial interests while undertaking public duties. It is untenable.’
Another source suggested that there has been widespread exasperation at the ‘inflammatory’ statement and determination to ‘always have the last word’.
They said the Queen had no choice but to act as the situation ‘wasn’t fair’ on the charities and organisations that rely on royal patronage.
Sources said William, 38, felt under pressure over the potential increased workload following his brother’s decision to step back from royal life. One told the Sunday Times: ‘His future looks different because of his brother’s choices – it’s not easy.’
They added: ‘They had shared everything about their lives – an office, a foundation, meetings together most days – and there was a lot of fun along the way. He’ll miss it for ever.’
Sources stressed to the Mail that relations between the brothers ‘were not good’, adding: ‘He’s genuinely sad his brother won’t be standing shoulder to shoulder with him.’
However, William, the Queen and the Sussexes are all said to be eager to ease tensions.
One obstacle to improved relations may prove to be the ‘tell-all’ TV interview Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, have agreed to do with Oprah Winfrey.
It is thought they pre-recorded it at their home in California at the start of last week.
On Friday Miss Winfrey – a friend and neighbour of the couple who attended their wedding in 2018 – was seen boarding her private jet near their £11million home in Montecito.
It remains to be seen whether the couple will carry out any additional interviews with Miss Winfrey in light of Friday’s announcement.
The Queen was reportedly ‘blindsided’ by the interview, which will be shown on March 7.