Great Britain

Prince Philip, 98, spends night in hospital after fall and months of ill health as Queen faces Christmas alone

PRINCE Philip spent last night in hospital after a fall and months of ill health.

The Queen now faces Christmas alone after she caught the train to Sandringham yesterday as hubby Philip headed to a London hospital.

The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, was flown by helicopter from the Norfolk estate to the capital for “observation and treatment” for a pre-existing condition.

He spent the night at the private King Edward VII hospital and is expected to remain there for “a few days” — ruling him out of the Royals’ family Christmas.

Police officers are standing guard outside the building following his admission.

The hospital dash follows a month of ill health for the Duke, including a nasty fall.

A royal source said: “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. He suffers from gout which makes him more irritable and he lost his appetite.

“Those around him were worried as he’d stopped eating and didn’t want to go out. But he’s a 98-year-old man and this is all very common at this age.

“He’s been in good health generally but missed the Queen’s Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday for the first time.

'PRECAUTIONARY'

“And for the first time in what feels like centuries he won’t be seen shooting anywhere this year, not even on the Sandringham estate which is a great shame.”

The announcement that Philip had gone to hospital on the advice of his doctor was made just before 2pm on Friday.

The Duke was taken from the estate by helicopter to London before being transferred to the King Edward by car.

The Queen, 93, caught the Great Northern service from King’s Cross, London, and arrived in Norfolk at 12.30pm.

A Range Rover then drove her the 30 minutes to Sandringham.

Philip retired from public duties in August 2017 and has since enjoyed good health, living on Wood Farm on the Sandringham estate and continuing carriage riding.

His health scares have included heart problems, arthritis, abdominal surgery and bladder infections.

In April 2018 he had a hip replacement operation but had recovered well for Harry and Meghan’s wedding a month later.

Palace sources last night said there was no “cause for immediate concern” following his admission. Buckingham Palace were also keen to play down the hospital trip.

They said he was not taken by ambulance and stressed it was a planned admission.

A Palace statement 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.”

PRINCE PHILIP'S YEAR IN 2019

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.

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.

Philip suffers from arthritis in his right wrist and broke a bone in his ankle playing polo.

He also developed synovitis, a rheumatic condition of the tendon in the hand, after a polo fall.

As revealed by The Sun last month there has been disquiet among senior royals at Harry and Meghan’s decision to snub the traditional royal Christmas.

One family member told a friend: “We all understand that the Sussexes are entitled to privacy and a proper break.

“But given they have had six weeks off perhaps they should have come back to the UK for Christmas, given the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s advancing age.”

All other senior royals, including Charles and Camilla, William, Kate and their three children plus Anne, Edward and Sophie, will join the Queen. Events will include the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church.