The Duke of Edinburgh was driven away from hospital this morning following a month under the care of medical staff after initially being admitted with an infection and later undergoing heart surgery.
Prince Philip, 99, the nation’s longest-serving consort, spent 28 nights as a patient in London at King Edward VII’s Hospital and St Bartholomew’s Hospital – his longest ever stay.
The ‘Iron Duke’ was photographed leaving King Edward VII’s Hospital in Marylebone at about 10.30am today, with screens obscuring him for the most part, before getting into a car and being driven away.
Philip, who is set to celebrate his 100th birthday in June, is thought to be heading to Windsor Castle to be reunited with the Queen after a month without seeing her, but confirmation is still awaited from Buckingham Palace.
The Duke was initially taken by car to King Edward VII’s Hospital on February 16, after telling his doctor he felt unwell. But two weeks later he was moved to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London by ambulance.
Philip will have much to catch up on with the Queen following a dramatic week that saw the Duke and Duchess of Sussex plunge the monarchy into a crisis by accusing a member of the royal family of racism – not the Queen or Philip – and claiming that Meghan Markle received no support with her mental health problems.
The Duke of Edinburgh underwent a successful procedure on a pre-existing heart condition at Barts on March 3, before returning to King Edward VII’s Hospital a few days later to recuperate and continue his treatment.
The Duke of Edinburgh leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital in London today following a month of treatment by medical staff
The Duke of Edinburgh (centre) is driven away in a car after leaving King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning
Philip leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital in London today after being treated in hospital for a pre-existing heart condition
Prince Philip gets into a car as he is seen leaving King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning
The Duke of Edinburgh is seen leaving King Edward VII Hospital in London (let) after getting into a car (right) this morning
The Duke of Edinburgh is pictured being driven away from King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning
Prince Phillip leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital in London today after a month of being treated by doctors
The Duke of Edinburgh leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning after a month-long stay in hospital
Prince Philip leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning after about a month being treated
Philip was visited in King Edward VII’s Hospital on February 20 by the Prince of Wales, who made a 200-mile round trip from his Gloucestershire home and stayed for about 30 minutes.
The news of his departure was welcomed by royal commentators, including Phil Dampier, author of Prince Philip: A Lifetime of Wit and Wisdom, who tweeted: ‘Fantastic news. Prince Philip has left hospital after nearly a month. On to the ton!’
Earlier, police blocked access for vehicles to King Edward VII’s Hospital, as four officers arrived on motorcycles to join a dozen at the entrance.
Concern about the duke has been heightened because of his advanced age and his hospital stay comes amid troubled times for the royal family.
While Philip was in hospital, Prince Harry and Meghan faced calls to postpone their interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey because Philip was unwell, but it went ahead and the couple made a string of claims about their struggles as working royals.
Prince Philip leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning having spent a month being treated
A screen is placed outside King Edward VII’s Hospital in London today where medical staff have been treating the Duke
Prince Philip leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning where he has been receiving treatment
Police officers outside King Edward VII’s Hospital in London where the Duke of Edinburgh has been receiving treatment
The Duke of Edinburgh (centre) is driven away in a car after leaving King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning
A screen is put up as a car waits at the side entrance of King Edward VII’s Hospital in London this morning
Police officers stand outside King Edward VII’s Hospital this morning where Philip was first admitted on February 16
The 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II spent a month in hospital in London before leaving in a car this morning
Police officers walk outside King Edward VII’s Hospital today where Prince Philip has been treated in recent weeks
Cars wait at the side entrance of King Edward VII’s Hospital in London today where Philip has been treated in recent weeks
The Queen, 94, said in a statement afterwards that the issues are concerning, but that ‘some recollections may vary’ and the matter is a family one that will be dealt with privately.
Timeline of the Duke of Edinburgh’s hospital stay
Here is the timeline of the Duke of Edinburgh’s stay in hospital over the past month:
- Tuesday, February 16, 2021: The duke is admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital on a precautionary basis after feeling unwell. He travels from Windsor Castle by car. Philip is said to be in ‘good spirits’ and walks into the private hospital unaided. He is expected to stay for a few days.
- Friday, February 19: Sources say Philip is now expected to remain in hospital for ‘observation and rest’ over the weekend and into the next week.
- Saturday, February 20: The Prince of Wales makes a 200-mile round trip to see his father, spending around half an hour at the hospital.
- Tuesday, February 23: Seven days after the duke was admitted, the Palace says he is being treated for an infection and is ‘comfortable and responding to treatment’, but is not expected to leave hospital for several more days. The Earl of Wessex says the duke is a ‘lot better’ and looking forward to getting out.
- Monday, March 1: Philip is transferred in an ambulance to St Bartholomew’s Hospital for treatment for an infection and testing and observation for a pre-existing heart condition, Buckingham Palace says. The duke is shielded from public view by large umbrellas as he leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital.
- Tuesday, March 2: The Queen continues with her official duties by holding calls with the Chancellor and the head of the British Army.
- Wednesday March 3: Philip undergoes surgery on his heart. The Duchess of Cornwall says of her father-in-law: ‘We heard today that he’s slightly improving. So, that’s very good news. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.’
- Thursday, March 4: Buckingham Palace announces Philip has had a ‘successful procedure’ for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. The palace adds: ‘His Royal Highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.’
- Friday, March 5: Philip returns to King Edward VII’s Hospital to continue his recovery.
- Tuesday, March 16: Philip leaves King Edward VII’s Hospital after a total of 16 days in hospital
Meanwhile, the Duke of Cambridge defended the House of Windsor, saying during a visit to a school in East London last week: ‘We’re very much not a racist family.’
Philip has been treated for heart problems in the past and in 2011 was taken to hospital by helicopter from Sandringham after suffering chest pains as the royal family was preparing for Christmas.
He was treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire and underwent a minimally invasive procedure of coronary stenting.
The duke had been spending the latest lockdown at Windsor with the Queen for their safety, alongside a reduced household of staff dubbed HMS Bubble.
The couple, who have been married for 73 years, received their first Covid-19 jabs in January.
Meanwhile Buckingham Palace has instructed an external law firm to assist with its investigation into bullying allegations made against the Duchess of Sussex.
Royal aides announced earlier this month that past and present employees of Meghan and Harry would be invited to speak in confidence about their experiences, after it was alleged she drove out two personal assistants and staff were ‘humiliated’ on several occasions.
Now it is understood an outside legal company will help Buckingham Palace’s human resources team as it examines the circumstance of the allegations, first reported by the Times newspaper.
According to other reports, the Sussexes are not expected to be asked to contribute to the review, but the duchess has written to the palace asking for any documents, emails or texts relating to the allegations against her.
Lawyers for the duchess have denied the bullying allegations.
Harry was also accused of bullying, with the Times reporting earlier this month that a member of staff told a colleague the couple were ‘outrageous bullies’.
When the bullying allegations were first made, Buckingham Palace said in a statement it was ‘very concerned’ about them, and stressed the Royal Household ‘does not and will not tolerate bullying or harassment in the workplace’.
It added: ‘Accordingly, our HR team will look into the circumstances outlined in the article. Members of staff involved at the time, including those who have left the Household, will be invited to participate to see if lessons can be learned.’
The investigation was launched after the Times reported that Jason Knauf, the Sussexes’ then communications secretary, made a bullying complaint in October 2018 in an apparent attempt to force Buckingham Palace to protect staff.
A source told the newspaper that Harry begged his senior aide not to take the matter further, but it also reported that lawyers for the duke and duchess deny the meeting took place and that Harry would not have interfered with staff matters.
Police officers and officials are seen outside King Edward VII’s Hospital in London today where Philip has been treated
A police officer stands outside the private King Edward VII’s Hospital where Prince Philip has been treated in recent weeks
Police motorbikes lined up outside King Edward VII’s Hospital today where the Duke has been treated in recent weeks
Police stand at the doors to King Edward VII’s Hospital where Philip has been treated after being admitted with an infection
Prince Philip is pictured during the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Windsor Castle on July 22, 2020
The Queen and Prince Philip look at a wedding anniversary card in the Oak Room at Windsor Castle last November
The Prince of Wales is pictured arriving at King Edward VII’s Hospital to visit his father Prince Philip on February 20
Prince Charles is pictured following his visit to the Duke of Edinburgh at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on February 20
Mr Knauf reportedly sent an email outlining the duchess’s alleged actions to Simon Case, the Duke of Cambridge’s then private secretary and now the cabinet secretary, after conversations with Samantha Carruthers, the head of human resources.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘Our commitment to look into the circumstances around allegations from former staff of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is being taken forward but we will not be providing a public commentary on it.’
A spokesman for the Sussexes declined to comment.
Soon after the bullying allegations were made, the monarchy was left reeling after Harry and Meghan’s interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey, in which they made a string of allegations, including accusing a member of the royal family of making a racist comment about their son Archie.
How private King Edward VII’s Hospital is the first choice for the royal family
Many a royal has been cared for at the private King Edward VII’s Hospital.
From the Queen to the late Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother, the exclusive clinic in central London has been the first port of call for ailing members of The Firm for years.
The Duke of Edinburgh has been admitted a number of times in recent years and the Duchess of Cornwall had a hysterectomy at the medical institution in 2012.
The first time the Queen was admitted to hospital was at the King Edward VII’s in July 1982 when she had a wisdom tooth extracted.
Police at King Edward VII’s Hospital in Marylebone today where Philip was initially taken after telling his doctor he felt unwell
In 2003, the clinic’s surgeons also removed minor non-cancerous growths from the monarch’s face and operated on her knee.
Tragedy struck in 2012 when nurse Jacintha Saldanha apparently killed herself after she was duped by two hoax callers who had phoned the hospital.
The Duchess of Cambridge was being treated at the hospital for severe morning sickness when pregnant with Prince George, and Ms Saldanha – believing the Australian pair were senior royals – put them through to a colleague who described in detail Kate’s condition.
Philip was treated at the hospital for a short period in 2018 following a planned admission for a pre-existing but undisclosed condition.
The previous year the duke spent nine days receiving treatment and physio following a hip replacement at the institution.
King Edward VII’s Hospital was established in 1899 by two sisters, Agnes and Fanny Keyser, who turned their home at 17 Grosvenor Crescent into a hospital for sick and wounded officers returning from the Boer War.
King Edward VII became the hospital’s first patron – a role now held by the Queen. Edward VII, Charles’s great-great grandfather, had an affair with Camilla’s great-grandmother Alice Keppel.
The hospital moved to its present site in Beaumont Street in 1948, and in 2000 it changed its title to King Edward VII’s Hospital Sister Agnes.
The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London last month initially as a precautionary measure on the advice of his doctor after feeling unwell.
Philip previously spent four nights at the same hospital in December 2019 for treatment on a ‘pre-existing condition’ while he has suffered a number of ailments over the years, including being treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire in December 2011 and a bladder infection in June 2012 forcing him to miss the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Exploratory surgery on his abdomen followed in June 2013 and he began to use hearing aids by 2014, aged 93.
He later pulled out of a Battle of Jutland anniversary event in June 2016 citing a minor ailment which was followed soon after by his retirement from public duty in 2017.
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 spokeswoman.
- 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 unearths 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 – 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.
- December 20 – The duke travels from Norfolk to the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition.
- December 24 – Philip leaves hospital after four nights and travels to Sandringham to spend Christmas with the Queen.
- March 19, 2020 – The duke travels from Sandringham to Windsor Castle to stay with the Queen ahead of the nation going into lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
- April 20 – In his first major statement since his retirement, Philip praises key workers including refuse and postal staff who have been keeping essential services running.
- June 10 2020 – The duke turns 99 and is photographed with the Queen to celebrate the occasion.
- July 17 – The duke attends his granddaughter Princess Beatrice’s secret lockdown wedding.
- July 22 – In his first official engagement in more than a year, Philip is to take part in a ceremony at Windsor to hand over his role of colonel-in-chief of The Rifles to the Duchess of Cornwall, who will be at Highgrove.
- August 15 – The duke features on large screens in locations across the country in a photo montage alongside other Second World War veterans to mark VJ Day, with each pictured with an image of themselves from their time in service. Philip is pictured on board the destroyer HMS Whelp moored in Tokyo Bay in 1945 ahead of the Japanese surrender.
- November 20 – The Queen and the duke release a photo of themselves opening a card made by Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to mark their 73rd wedding anniversary.
- January 9, 2021 – Philip and The Queen receive their Covid-19 vaccinations at Windsor Castle from a household doctor, Buckingham Palace confirms.
- February 17 – Buckingham Palace says Philip has been admitted to hospital as a precaution.