The Duke of Edinburgh has undergone successful heart surgery – just three months before his 100th birthday.
Buckingham Palace said Prince Philip, who is England’s longest-serving consort, had the procedure for his pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London on Wednesday (local time).
The 99-year-old duke will remain in hospital for “treatment, rest and recuperation” for several days.
Concern will be heightened for the duke because of his advanced age, with his daughter-in law, the Duchess of Cornwall, saying on Wednesday that Philip was “slightly improving” and “we’ll keep our fingers crossed”.
Thursday’s news was announced amid growing tensions within the royal family ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s controversial televised Oprah interview, with Meghan Markle saying in an extract that she could not be expected to stay silent if “the Firm” played a part in “perpetuating falsehoods” about her and husband Prince Harry.
Philip has been treated for heart problems in the past. In 2011, he was flown to hospital by helicopter from Sandringham after suffering chest pains as the royal family was preparing for Christmas.
In the serious health scare, he was treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire and had a minimally invasive procedure of coronary stenting.
St Bartholomew’s is home to Bart’s Heart Centre – Europe’s largest specialised cardiovascular service.
The duke was initially admitted to the private King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London on February 16 after feeling unwell before being moved by ambulance to St Bartholomew’s on Monday.
He has now spent 16 nights in hospital – his longest-ever stay.
“The Duke of Edinburgh yesterday underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital,” Buckingham Palace said.
“His royal highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days”.
Philip was visited in King Edward VII’s Hospital on February 20 by his eldest son, the Prince of Wales.
The duke has spent most of lockdown at Windsor Castle 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.