Duke of Edinburgh in hospital: updates 'when appropriate'
The Queen goes solo to BBC opening as her husband, 92 next week, gets set for abdominal surgery at London Clinic
THE Duke of Edinburgh will spend up to a fortnight in hospital after having exploratory surgery on his abdomen today. Prince Philip, who turns 92 on Monday, was admitted to the London Clinic yesterday evening and will have the operation under general anaesthetic.
Earlier in the day he was said by guests at a Buckingham Palace garden party to be in good spirits and looking well. He was also presented with the Order of New Zealand by the Queen.
While officials say the visit was planned, the BBC's Royal Correspondent Peter Hunt notes: "Publicly, the talk is of Prince Philip being 'in good spirits'. Privately, officials will know this is a potentially serious moment."
Prince Philip has been in hospital three other times over the last two years and has been forced, often at short notice, to abandon a number of public engagements.
The latest of these – when he pulled out of a Royal National Institute of Blind People event on Monday - is now explained by yesterday's announcement from the Palace.
As the BBC reports, he has been "slipping in and out of the London Clinic" in the past week for "abdominal investigations" prompted by routine tests which showed that something was amiss. "The precise nature of the problem has not been made public."
The Duke of Edinburgh had been due to spend today with the Queen at the formal opening of Broadcasting House, the BBC's central London headquarters, rebuilt at a cost of £1 billion. She will now carry out this engagement without him by her side.
While a two-week hospital stay is the longest time the Duke will have spent in hospital, a royal source told the Daily Telegraph it was normal for anyone who has surgery under general anaesthetic at his age.
Buckingham Palace will issue further updates "when appropriate".