LONDON – Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, is “progressing satisfactorily” after undergoing exploratory surgery Friday in a London hospital, Buckingham Palace announced.
The prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, turns 92 in three days and has been suffering increasing health problems in the past 18 months. He was taken to the London Clinic, a private hospital, Thursday, for what Buckingham Palace said was a planned admittance after abdominal tests. The queen, who is 87, pressed ahead with her scheduled engagements Friday, formally opening the BBC’s rebuilt headquarters in London with a live broadcast.
“His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has had an exploratory operation following abdominal investigations,” the royal household said in an emailed statement. “The results will now be analyzed. At this early stage he is progressing satisfactorily. Further updates will continue to be issued when appropriate.”
The duke spent five nights in a Scottish hospital in August last year with a bladder infection, a recurrence of a complaint that first required treatment in June 2012 during events to mark 60 years since the queen’s accession to the throne. The duke also had a coronary stent inserted for a blocked artery in December 2011 after suffering chest pains, causing him to miss the royal family’s Christmas celebrations. Buckingham Palace has given no further details of the prince’s current ailment.
The prince began to scale back his royal engagements when he turned 90. Still, he attended a garden party given by the queen at Buckingham Palace Thursday, and television pictures showed him smiling and shaking hands with guests.
Prince Philip was at the queen’s side three days ago when she attended a service in London’s Westminster Abbey to mark the 60th anniversary of her coronation, even though he withdrew from an engagement the previous night after becoming unwell.
The London Clinic, located on Harley Street in the capital’s West End, describes itself as one of Britain’s largest private hospitals, with more than 300 consultant surgeons and physicians.
In 2009, Philip became the U.K.’s longest-serving royal consort, surpassing the 57-year, 70-day record set by Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III, in the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Queen Elizabeth described Philip on their golden wedding anniversary in 1997 as “my strength and stay all these years.”