Prince Philip, 98, flies home to Sandringham by helicopter in time to join the royal family for Christmas after leaving hospital in London

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  • Prince Philip left King Edward VII’s hospital in London at 8.49am this morning after a four-night stay
  • The 98-year-old had been in hospital since Friday morning and was admitted after a period of poor health  
  • Dressed in a suit and tie, the Duke made his own way to his car today, escorted by royal protection officers
  • He waved to doctor who accompanied him out of the building, before shaking the hand of a nurse by his side
  • Duke was then flown by helicopter back to Sandringham to join his wife and family in time for Christmas Day 

The Duke of Edinburgh left hospital this morning and flew by helicopter to join the Queen and the rest of the royal family at Sandringham, in time for Christmas day. 

Prince Philip was flown to the King Edward VII’s hospital in central London on Friday, where he spent four nights before leaving at 8.49am. 

Dressed in a suit and tie, the Duke made his own way to his car unaided today and waved to a doctor who accompanied him out of the building, before shaking the hand of a nurse by his side.

Escorted by royal protection officers, he was driven to Buckingham Palace where he was then taken by helicopter to join his wife and grandchildren at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.  

The 98-year-old was admitted for a few days as a precautionary measure, for observation, after a period of poor health, which saw him battling a ‘flu-like’ illness for weeks and suffering a ‘bad fall’. 

As the Queen reflects on what has been a turbulent year for her family, it had remained unclear whether her husband would be well enough to join her at her estate.  

The nature of his illness has not been revealed but in 2012 and 2017 he was admitted to hospital with bladder infections. Philip, who famously claims his health is so robust that he’s not had flu since the 1970s, was last at the King Edward VII Hospital in 2018 for a hip replacement, spending 11 days there.  

Prince Philip spent four nights in the King Edward VII's hospital in central London and left at 8.49am today
Prince Philip flies home to Sandringham by helicopter in time to join the royal family for Christmas after leaving hospital in London Photo C GETTY

Prince Philip spent four nights in the King Edward VII’s hospital in central London and left at 8.49am today

The Duke was seen leaving the King Edward VII hospital in London this morning, where he had spent four nights

The Duke was seen leaving the King Edward VII hospital in London this morning, where he had spent four nights 

The 98-year-old walked out of the hospital and into a waiting car this morning, in time to join his family for Christmas

The 98-year-old walked out of the hospital and into a waiting car this morning, in time to join his family for Christmas 

Prince Philip, 98, strolled alongside a nurse to his waiting car today, Christmas Eve

Prince Philip, 98, strolled alongside a nurse to his waiting car today, Christmas Eve 

The Duke of Edinburgh has been released from hospital after four nights of treatment for an undisclosed ailment - just in time to return to Sandringham for Christmas

The Duke of Edinburgh has been released from hospital after four nights of treatment for an undisclosed ailment – just in time to return to Sandringham for Christmas 

Philip waved to a doctor who accompanied him out of the building, before shaking the hand of a nurse by his side

Philip waved to a doctor who accompanied him out of the building, before shaking the hand of a nurse by his side

The 98-year-old had been in hospital since Friday morning and was admitted after a period of poor health, battling a 'flu-like' illness for weeks and suffering a 'bad fall'. He is pictured leaving in his car today

The 98-year-old had been in hospital since Friday morning and was admitted after a period of poor health, battling a ‘flu-like’ illness for weeks and suffering a ‘bad fall’. He is pictured leaving in his car today 

The Duke was driven to Buckingham Palace where he was then taken by helicopter to the Sandringham Estate

The Duke was driven to Buckingham Palace where he was then taken by helicopter to the Sandringham Estate The Duke of Edinburgh leaves hospital after four night stayLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time1:19FullscreenNeed Text

98-year-old Prince Philip’s recent health scares and hospital admissions

Prince Philip has boasted excellent health for a 98-year-old and has repeatedly insisted he has not had the flu for more than 40 years.

Not to be cowed by his ill health in recent years, he still enjoys an active life and continues with his carriage driving, which he took up in 1971 after retiring from polo.

In 1961, the Duke broke a bone in his left ankle in a collision on the polo field.

Polo also left him suffering from arthritis in his right wrist, a condition made worse by shaking many thousands of hands at official function.

But in recent years he has struggled a little more with illness. These are the recent, most high-profile cases.

December 2011: The prince is airlifted to hospital from Sandringham two days before Christmas after suffering chest pains, and undergoes surgery for a blocked coronary artery.

June 2012: Philip is taken to hospital after developing a urinary infection during the river pageant to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

June 2013: Philip has abdominal surgery for an undisclosed condition and spends 11 days in hospital, including his 92nd birthday.

December 2016: Both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh suddenly cancel plans to leave London for their festive break in Norfolk after they both come down with heavy colds. 

June 2017: Philip admitted to hospital as ‘a precautionary measure’ for an infection arising from a pre-existing condition, the Palace said

April 2018: The Duke of Edinburgh spends 11 days in hospital following his successful hip replacement

December 20, 2019: Philip, 98, left Sandringham to attend the King Edward VII Hospital in London.

December 24: Philip is released from hospital in time to join his family at Sandringham for Christmas Day

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said today: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh has today left hospital after being discharged by his Doctor and is now back at Sandringham. 

‘His Royal Highness would like to thank everyone who sent their good wishes.’ 

Prince Philip was flown in a Royal helicopter directly into the grounds of Sandringham House this morning, arriving at about 9.40am.

Flight tracking records reveal he was picked up in London at around 9.05am by a mauve coloured Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.

The helicopter whisked him up to the 20,000 acre Royal estate, flying at speeds of up to 175mph at a height of 3,300ft.

Police stepped up security with extra patrols on the roads around Sandringham House as the helicopter swooped in over West Newton.

Villagers and visitors to the estate watching from the ground cheered and clapped as they gazed up at the sky to see the twin-engined helicopter overhead.

The helicopter touched down on one of the lawns at Sandringham House, meaning Philip only had a short walk to get into the warm inside.

His arrival after four nights in hospital provided a fantastic early Christmas present for the Queen and other members of the Royal family.

It is believed that Prince Charles and Camilla arrived in a separate helicopter which landed near the estate shortly before Philip’s arrival.

Philip’s flight directly into the grounds of Sandringham House was in contrast to the flight which took him into hospital and was cloaked in secrecy.

His flight to hospital in the same helicopter on Friday morning is believed to have taken off from RAF Marham, around 12 miles south of Sandringham, to ensure it was not seen by photographers.

It then landed in south east London to avoid scrutiny, and he was driven by car to the King George VII Hospital where he walked in unaided.

The helicopter which took Philip back to Sandringham today started its journey from its base in Hampshire shortly before 8.30am.

It arrived around 15 minutes later at a secret location in north London to pick Philip up, spending around 20 minutes on the ground before taking off again for Sandringham.

The Duke was last week flown from the Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk to the King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone, London amid growing concern for his health. 

Today, he got into a car in a secluded street behind the hospital and was sitting in the front passenger seat. 

Multiple police stood guard around the hospital as well as royal protection officers. 

Speaking about his father to reporters as he visited the flood-hit village of Fishlake yesterday afternoon, Prince Charles said: ‘He’s being looked after very well in hospital. At the moment that’s all we know.’ 

It comes as the Queen is expected to reflect on the ‘bumpy’ year endured by both the Royal Family and the nation in her Christmas broadcast tomorrow. The Duke of Edinburgh arrives back at Sandringham by helicopterLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time1:54FullscreenNeed Text

Police officers have been stationed outside the hospital over the weekend, while the Duke was kept in for observation

Police officers have been stationed outside the hospital over the weekend, while the Duke was kept in for observation

A doctor and a nurse walked alongside the 98-year-old out of the hospital in central London

A doctor and a nurse walked alongside the 98-year-old out of the hospital in central London

The Duke of Edinburgh today leaving King Edward VII Hospital in London, after being admitted last Friday for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition

The Duke of Edinburgh today leaving King Edward VII Hospital in London, after being admitted last Friday for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition

The 98-year-old looked weary but in good spirits as he got into the passenger seat, unaided
The 98-year-old looked weary but in good spirits as he got into the passenger seat, unaided

The 98-year-old looked weary but in good spirits as he got into the passenger seat, unaided 

The fiercely independent 98-year-old declined any help as he walked to his car and got in, before driving to the palace

The fiercely independent 98-year-old declined any help as he walked to his car and got in, before driving to the palace 

Prince Philip was typically dapper in his suit and tie this morning, but shunned a coat despite the biting temperature

Prince Philip was typically dapper in his suit and tie this morning, but shunned a coat despite the biting temperature 

At 98, Prince Philip is in better health than many men his age but the Iron Duke has suffered a few scares in recent years.

In January he walked away from a car crash close to the Queen’s Sandringham Estate with barely a scratch on him.

But the experience was understood to have left him badly shaken.

The accident was just weeks after he missed joining the Royal Family at church on Christmas Day due to a heavy cold.

Prince Philip, pictured in May, took up carriage driving in 1971 when he retired from playing polo

Prince Philip, pictured in May, took up carriage driving in 1971 when he retired from playing polo

In April 2018, Philip had a hip replacement but amazed medical staff with his swift recovery, walking unaided at Prince Harry’s wedding the following month.

More seriously, Philip was rushed into Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire for emergency heart surgery at Christmas 2011 after suffering a blocked artery, which involved him having a stent fitted. He was also forced to pull out of several key engagements to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 having developed a severe bladder infection.

In 2013 he was admitted to hospital for what palace officials described as ‘exploratory’ abdominal surgery.

He only began to use hearing aids in 2014, aged 93, but is said to have been frustrated by his failing eyesight of late. Philip is already the longest-serving consort in British history and the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch.

His good health is in part down to his active lifestyle as a younger man. He has always been a keen sportsman, taking up carriage driving in 1971 when he officially retired from playing polo.

Philip represented Britain at several European and World Championships and continued to compete into his early 80s. He still enjoys the sport recreationally.

In 2010 he escaped major injury in a carriage driving accident, while a female groom half his age was taken to hospital.

Aides have always admitted it is difficult to persuade Philip to slow down and he cannot bear anyone making a fuss. But he finally announced his retirement from public life in May 2017.

The following month he missed the State Opening of Parliament due to an infection and in August made his last official public engagement at the age of 96.

The royal family exchange gifts on Christmas Eve and have a formal dinner, after which the duke usually serves port or brandy to the men.

They attend the morning service at the Church of St Mary Magdalene on the royal estate and greet well-wishers, although Philip is thought unlikely to attend as he missed the service last year despite being said to be in good health.

Philip has been cared for at the central London hospital since his planned admission on Friday.

His admittance to the private hospital, which has been treating members of the royal family for decades, was described as a ‘precautionary measure’ by Buckingham Palace.

Asked about the 98-year-old’s health, his eldest son the Prince of Wales told reporters on Monday: ‘He’s being looked after very well in hospital.

‘At the moment that’s all we know.’

During the visit to flood-hit communities in South Yorkshire, Charles added: ‘When you get to that age things don’t work so well.’

The duke, who turned 98 in June, has generally enjoyed good health, appearing to recover well from a planned hip replacement operation in April 2018.

According to reports, his admission follows a spell of ill health – the Sun quoted a royal source saying the duke had a fall recently, while the Mail reported he had been battling a flu-like condition.

Philip escaped with minor injuries after a dramatic car crash near Sandringham in January, but in the past decade has been admitted to hospital for abdominal surgery, bladder infections and a blocked coronary artery.  

Philip is known for his ‘no fuss’ approach and is unlikely to have received many visitors while he was being treated at the hospital.

Buckingham Palace would not go into details about Philip’s pre-existing condition, or the nature of his treatment.

Philip’s decision to retire from public duties during 2017 was not health-related, Buckingham Palace said at the time of the announcement. 

As Philip has continued late into his 90s, concerns for his well-being have increased following a number of health scares.

Abdominal surgery, bladder infections and a blocked coronary artery have seen him admitted to hospital on a number of occasions. 

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.

In late 2011, the Duke, then aged 90, was rushed to hospital by helicopter from Sandringham after suffering chest pains as the Royal Family were preparing for Christmas.

In the serious health scare, he was treated for a blocked coronary artery at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire and underwent a minimally invasive procedure of coronary stenting, and spent Christmas Day and Boxing Day in hospital.

And in the midst of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June 2012, the Duke was forced to miss the majority of the festivities after falling ill with a bladder infection. 

Medical staff from the hospital looked on ad the Duke made his way to his Land Rover before being taken to his family

Medical staff from the hospital looked on ad the Duke made his way to his Land Rover before being taken to his family Prince Charles: ‘My father is being looked after well in hospital’Loaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:22FullscreenNeed Text

The Duke has also made several trips to the King Edward VII’s private hospital, in Marylebone, in recent years.

In June 2017, the Duke spent the day at Royal Ascot, where the hot weather meant the dress code in the Royal Enclosure was relaxed for the first time.

That same evening, he was admitted to King Edward VII’s Hospital as a precautionary measure, for treatment for an infection arising from a pre-existing condition.

He missed the State Opening of Parliament, with the Prince of Wales stepping in to accompany the Queen, before being discharged after a two-night stay.

In March 2018, he missed the Maundy Thursday service with the Queen because of a problem with his hip and a few days later, in April, Philip was admitted to hospital ahead of a planned hip replacement.

The Duke left hospital 10 days later.

In January this year, Philip was involved in a car crash when the Land Rover Freelander he was driving flipped over after colliding with another car near the Sandringham estate.

The Duke then voluntarily gave up his licence but although he doesn’t drive on public roads he has been seen pootling around the Queen’s estates.  

Friday is a change from recent years when she has tended to travel on a Thursday.

Prince Philip was last pictured on the Balmoral estate (above) on August 14. He is returning there today, by helicopter

Prince Philip was last pictured on the Balmoral estate (above) on August 14. He is returning there today, by helicopter 

The Queen and Prince Philip were last pictured together at an Order of Merit event at Windsor Castle on May 7. Since he retired from royal duties he has largely been missing from any of his wife's events

The Queen and Prince Philip were last pictured together at an Order of Merit event at Windsor Castle on May 7. Since he retired from royal duties he has largely been missing from any of his wife’s events

Source: DAILYMAIL MAILONLINE

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