Saturday, June 9, 2012

Prince Philip out of hospital in time to spend his 91st birthday at home tomorrow

-Duke of Edinburgh had thought he would miss celebrating with family
-He will spend day enjoying private party at Windsor
-Back by the Queen's side in time for Jubilee Garden Party in Sandringham on Tuesday
-Fell ill after spending four hours in freezing rain at Jubilee on Sunday
-Grandsons William and Harry made a short visit to his bedside yesterday

By Charles Walford and Emma Reynolds

Good news: Prince Philip smiled and waved as he headed home to be with his family at Windsor for a private celebration tomorrow

Prince Philip has been released from hospital today so he can spend his 91st birthday at home with the rest of the Royal family tomorrow.

The Duke of Edinburgh left after spending five nights at the King Edward VII hospital, London, recovering from a bladder infection.

Philip smiled and nodded to reporters and shook the hands of staff as he left and got into a waiting car.

He was forced to miss the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations after reporting that he felt unwell on Monday afternoon.

Walking tall: The Duke of Edinburgh looked in good spirits as he left hospital this morning

The Monarch watched the Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace on Monday without her husband at her side.

Today, looking smart in a grey tweed suit and patterned red tie, the Duke got into the front passenger seat of a Land Rover Discovery before being driven away from the hospital with a police escort.

He nodded in response to shouted questions from reporters about whether he was feeling better.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed that Prince Philip was heading back to Windsor to spend his birthday celebrating privately with his family.

The spokesman said: 'He's out of hospital, his condition is improving and he will continue his convalescence at home.'

Heading home: The Duke of Edinburgh had not thought he would not be back at Windsor in time for his birthday after spending five nights at the hospital with a bladder infection

Yesterday, he was visited by grandsons Princes Harry and William, who was on leave from his RAF Search and Rescue duties.

Harry, meanwhile, has been spending the week since the Diamond Jubilee celebrations on pre-deployment training at Wattisham in Suffolk.

The Princes, dressed in jeans and V-neck jumpers, left the hospital after 20 minutes looking relaxed, and were whisked away in a silver Range Rover after their visit.

Philip had already been visited by the Queen, the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children, Louise and James.

Prince Andrew had said on Wednesday his father was 'mending very well', but the Palace had said he was not expected to be back at home in time to celebrate his birthday with the family.

Prince Edward had added that the Duke had watched the thanksgiving service at St Paul’s on television. ‘He’s feeling a lot better, he just needs some rest,’ he said.

Philip is not due to attend his next scheduled engagement until Tuesday, when the Queen hosts a garden party at the Sandringham Estate to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

It is hoped her husband will be by her side at her Norfolk retreat if he is feeling strong enough.

It is also hoped he will be able to accompany her to the East Midlands on Wednesday for a two-day visit as part of the Queen's Jubilee tour of the UK.

Princess Eugenie has told how her grandmother the Queen would have found the final two days of the Diamond Jubilee 'quite testing' without Prince Philip by her side.

But the princess described her grandparents as a 'power couple who kind of astound people' as she gave the first interview by a royal following the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Eugenie, 22, told Sky News: 'To see Granny and Grandpa standing for four hours, I mean, together, they are invincible.

Optimistic: The pictures of Princes William and Harry smiling will give confidence to the nation that the Duke of Edinburgh is well on the way to recovery

'They are the most incredibly supportive couple to each other. Grandpa was unfortunately taken ill and for Granny to come and do that alone was probably quite testing and I think he is her rock really and she is his.'

Philip's admission to hospital meant he was forced to miss some of the Jubilee celebrations this week.

He spent Sunday braving the elements for the Thames River Pageant, which doctors suggested might have exacerbated his condition if he did not make enough visits to the toilet.

The Palace said earlier this week that he was being treated with antibiotics and was in good spirits.

The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery is expected to fire a salute in London's Hyde Park to mark Philip's birthday, the Ministry of Defence said.

The salute is fired every year to herald the occasion and the event is open to the public but not customarily attended by members of the royal family.

Princes William (left) and Harry (right) visit their grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh in hospital after the Palace said he would not be out to celebrate his 91st birthday with family

Concerned visitors: Prince William visited the hospital whilst on leave from the RAF, whilst Prince Harry took time out from pre-deployment training at Wattisham, Suffolk

Together: The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, are pictured onboard the Spirit of Chartwell during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in London

Emotional time: The Queen found Philip in good form on Wednesday, leaving her in better spirits than she had seemed to be in at St Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday

The illness forced the Duke to miss several key events of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations, including the service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral and the concert outside Buckingham Palace.

Edward said the Queen was ‘bearing up’ but added: ‘She’s missing him, obviously.’

Edward’s wife, Sophie, said the Duke was ‘naturally upset’ to miss the celebrations but added: ‘He’s on good form. He is in good spirits.’

As the Queen left on Wednesday, she beamed with delight, seemingly hugely relieved at what she had seen.

Speaking yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron said that everyone was concerned about the health of the Duke after he was taken to hospital with the infection.

Unwell: Prince Philip waves during Sunday's pageant on the River Thames. He was taken ill the following day

Time well spent: The Queen spent approximately 50 minutes with her husband

Treatment: Prince Philip's bladder infection could have been exacerbated by not taking enough toilet breaks during the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant

Mr Cameron said he was sure the Queen and the Duke would have gone ahead with Sunday’s river pageant in torrential rain regardless of the risks to their health after the day’s exertions - spending four hours on the water - were blamed for his turn of ill-health.

Speaking to Sky News, Mr Cameron said: 'It was a most extraordinary spectacle and obviously everyone is very concerned and worried and wants to know that (the Duke) is going to be OK.

'The thing about our Royal Family is that they are incredibly dedicated to what they do and they are incredibly dedicated to doing it, no matter what the circumstances.

'I don’t know all the conversations that took place but I would be pretty certain that Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh would have wanted to do what they did and would have carried on doing it.'

On Monday night the Queen was visibly moved as Prince Charles joked that the Duke of Edinburgh might hear the Jubilee concert from his bed if the crowd shouted loud enough.

Happy: Prince Andrew (left) visited his father on Wednesday . He said Prince Philip was 'mending well'. His brother Prince Edward (right) also paid a visit to the King Edward VII hospital in London

All smiles: Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, is pictured leaving the hospital with her son James

In a warm, emotional and often witty speech in praise of his mother at the close of the Diamond Jubilee Concert, that appeared to make her lip quiver more than once, the Prince of Wales said it was sad that the Duke of Edinburgh could not be at the event after being taken unwell

While the Duke’s condition is not believed to be serious, doctors will not be taking any chances, given his advancing years, because bladder infections in the elderly can get worse very quickly if not treated promptly.

Questions are likely to be asked whether it was wise to allow the Duke, who had a stent inserted in his heart less than six months ago, to take part in Sunday’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, standing in the rain for four hours.

It is understood that staff at ambulance control in Berkshire received a call from Windsor Castle shortly after 2pm on Monday reporting that Prince Philip was feeling unwell.



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