Prince Philip began his 21st day in hospital this morning as he recovers from heart surgery as Meghan Markle said she phoned the Queen to check his condition in she and Prince Harry’s bombshell Oprah chat.
The Duke of Edinburgh, 99, has now spent three weeks away from Her Majesty unwell and receiving treatment.
Police were this morning still on guard outside King Edward VII Hospital as his stay continued hours after his grandson and wife’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.
In the televised chat the Duchess of Sussex revealed she had called the Queen to check in on his health after he had gone to hospital in London last month.
She told Winfrey: ‘I just pick up the phone and I call the Queen – just to check in.
That’s what we do, it’s like being able to default to not having to every moment go “Is that appropriate?”.’
The Duke of Edinburgh (pictured in July) , 99, is in his 21st day away from the Queen
Prince Harry and wife Meghan during the Oprah Winfrey interview, which aired this morning
Police on guard outside King Edward VII Hospital where Prince Philip is currently staying
This is the third week of Prince Philip’s hospital treatment and is 21 days away from the Queen
Philip was first admitted to King Edward on February 16 where he was being treated for an infection for 14 days last month before going to St Bart’s for an operation a week ago.
He was transferred back last week in a move widely seen to be a positive sign.
It came after the Sussexes’ interview where Meghan revealed she had suicidal thoughts at the height of her crisis in the monarchy.
She also asked the palace to seek professional help, and said she no longer had access to personal effects such as her passport.
Meghan also said a member of the Royal family had asked about how dark her son Archie’s skin would be.
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace told MailOnline there were no further announcements on the Prince’s health.
A flag flutters outside King Edward VII’s Hospital, where Prince Philip was admitted, in London
From a blocked coronary artery to a urinary infection, Prince Philip’s ailments in past 10 years
Despite enjoying an active lifestyle and carrying out Royal engagements until 2017, Prince Philip has suffered with an undisclosed heart condition for 30 years, which was only made public in 2007.
The 99-year-old and still enjoys an active lifestyle. But in recent years he has struggled a little more with illness, suffering from a number of ailments over the past decade, including:
- December 2011, four days in hospital: Prince Philip is airlifted to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire from Sandringham two days before Christmas after suffering chest pains, and undergoes surgery for a blocked coronary artery
- June 2012, six days: Philip is taken to hospital after developing a urinary infection during the river pageant to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
- June 2013, 11 days: He has abdominal surgery for an undisclosed condition and spends his 92nd birthday in hospital
- December 2016: Both the Queen and Philip suddenly cancel plans to leave London for their festive break in Norfolk after they both come down with heavy colds
- June 2016: The Duke pulls out of a Battle of Jutland anniversary event citing a minor ailment
- June 2017, three days: Philip is admitted to hospital as ‘a precautionary measure’ for an infection arising from a pre-existing condition
- April 2018, 11 days: The Duke spends nearly a fortnight in hospital following his successful hip replacement
- December 2019, five days: He is treated at King Edward Hospital in London for a ‘pre-existing condition’
- February/March 2021, 21 days (so far): Prince Philip is admitted to King Edward VII Hospital for treatment for an infection on Feb 16, before being transferred to St Bartholomew’s Hospital 14 days later because of a pre-existing heart condition. He underwent a ‘successful’ procedure on March 3
The Palace said in a statement last week: ‘Following The Duke of Edinburgh’s successful procedure at St Bartholomew’s Hospital on Wednesday, His Royal Highness has been transferred to King Edward VII’s Hospital this morning.
‘The Duke is expected to remain in hospital for continuing treatment for a number of days.’
Phil Dampier, author of Prince Philip: A Lifetime of Wit and Wisdom, said the update was ‘hopefully good news – he’s taking it slowly.’
Philip has already had a ‘successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition’ and is expected to remain in hospital for ‘treatment, rest and recuperation.
The Duke had the operation on Wednesday at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London – Britain’s top heart hospital – after being transferred there on Monday.
On Thursday, the Duchess of Cornwall said the Duke was ‘slightly improving’ and that everyone in the Royal Family was ‘keeping our fingers crossed’.
Giving an update on his condition after his operation, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘The Duke of Edinburgh yesterday underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
‘His Royal Highness will remain in hospital for treatment, rest and recuperation for a number of days.’
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said the update on Philip’s health was ‘good news’.
He added: ‘The Iron Duke is fighting back. Wonderful.’
Royal biographer Angela Levin added: ‘That is very good news.’
ITV royal correspondent Chris Ship said it was possible Philip has had a stent fitted, which medical experts had predicted when he was moved on Monday.
The Duke had a stent fitted in 2011 after a blocked coronary artery.
Philip was rushed to Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire by helicopter from Sandringham in Norfolk after chest pains as the Royal Family prepared for Christmas.
The Queen, who is being kept updated about her husband’s condition, will not get to visit Philip and is thought to be unlikely to see him until he leaves.
This is because visitors are currently excluded at the hospital apart from a handful of ‘exceptional’ circumstances, including end of life.
She did not visit him at King Edward VII Hospital during his first stint there because she is always reluctant to cause disruption to any hospital’s vital work.
She is understood to know her presence would place unnecessary pressure on staff at the best of times.
It means the Queen will have been parted from her husband of 73 years for at least three weeks.
His current condition is not known, but a move away from one of the UK’s biggest critical care hospitals is likely to be a positive sign
Philip was moved from the rear of the private King Edward VII Hospital in London in a cloak and dagger operation when he was moved to the nearby NHS hospital St Barth’s yesterday
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace today told MailOnline there were no further announcements on the Prince’s health
From having a second stent, replacing one fitted a decade ago, or getting a pacemaker: All the treatments Prince Philip could have had in hospital for his underlying heart condition
Prince Philip yesterday underwent a ‘successful procedure’ for a pre-existing heart condition, Buckingham Palace confirmed today.
But exactly what treatment the Duke of Edinburgh — who had a stent inserted during heart surgery in 2011 and has battled a secret heart ailment for 30 years — received remains a mystery.
The 99-year-old has spent 16 nights in hospital so far after being admitted to a private facility with an undisclosed infection on February 16. His infection was not related to coronavirus.
He was transferred to leading cardiac centre St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London on March 1 for ‘testing and observation’ for a pre-existing heart condition.
Cardiologists told MailOnline today the most recent operation may have involved having a second stent fitted, getting one replaced or having a pacemaker inserted.
Buckingham Palace representatives said although the Duke — who will turn 100 in June — remains comfortable, they expect him to remain on the wards until ‘at least the end of the week’.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, said yesterday during a visit in south London that Prince Philip was ‘slightly improving’, adding: ‘We keep our fingers crossed.’
The Duke of Edinburgh has already spent 16 nights in hospital for an un-named infection and ‘observation’ of an underlying heart condition. He was moved to leading cardiac centre St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the city of London on Monday
A stent is a small tube that is used to clear a blockage in an artery. It is inserted and expanded with a balloon to expand the artery and ensure blood can flow normally again. Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS cardiologist, said it was possible that Prince Philip was having another installed
Above is an explanation of how a stent is fitted
Is Prince Philip getting a second stent fitted while in hospital to treat a heart blockage?
An NHS cardiologist has suggested Prince Philip may be getting a second stent fitted while he is in hospital, arguing his infection may have put strain on his heart and triggered a partial blockage in his coronary artery.
Stents are tiny tubes used to clear arteries and allow blood to flow normally again. During an up to two-hour operation, they are inserted into a blockage and inflated to widen the blood vessel.
They are then left in place with doctors saying the procedure is permanent, although in some cases they may need to be replaced.
There are three coronary arteries flowing to the heart, and the Duke has already had a stent fitted to one of them ten years ago at the Royal Papworth Hospital in London.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, said it was possible the Duke could be getting a second stent fitted to a separate coronary artery.
‘The infection could have put strain on his heart and either triggered a minor heart attack or unstable angina (when the heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen because of blood flow problems),’ he told MailOnline
‘There are three coronary arteries, it is more likely he suffered a new blockage and needed a second stent.
‘He is fortunate to be in a country home to some of the best cardiologists in the world.’
The Duke pictured leaving King Edward VII hospital in central London on Christmas Eve in 2019, where he spent four nights before heading home to Sandringham for Christmas. Buckingham Palace said the stay was for a ‘pre-existing condition’
Could doctors be replacing his stent or clearing a blockage that could have formed inside it?
It has also been suggested that the Duke could be in hospital because doctors are replacing the stent he had fitted ten years ago, or clearing a blockage that has formed inside it.
Experts said, however, that it is extremely rare for any stent to need to be replaced – and any blockages within it would only appear within the first six months.
The Harvard Medical School says online in response to a question asking whether they ‘wear out’ after a few years: ‘What’s important for the future is that you needed a stent in the first place. Other arteries, or spots in the same artery, almost certainly have cholesterol-filled plaques that could cause blockages, or worse.’
They said it was possible for a blockage to form inside the stent, but that this usually occurs within the first six months. If they are in place for longer without problems it is a ‘sign it has done its job well’.
After Prince Philip had his fitted in 2011, he was not readmitted to hospital with further heart problems until this year, according to Buckingham Palace. This suggests the operation was successful.
When the stent is implanted tissue grows over it, making it part of the artery wall. But, if damage tissue grows instead, this can spark a further blockage and mean further operations are needed.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip pictured in the quadrangle of Windsor castle ahead of his 99th birthday in June last year
Could the Prince be having a pacemaker installed to treat his underlying heart condition?
It has also been claimed that the Duke is having a pacemaker installed to treat his heart condition.
The heart beat is normally controlled by electrical signals from the body’s internal ‘pacemaker’, which triggers between 60 to 100 beats a minute. But the pulse can be disrupted – in a condition known as arrhythmia – by other heart conditions, smoking or stress.
A pacemaker stops this from happening by emitting regular electrical signals. They can be fitted just under the chest in an hour long operation, which would then require a day of rest in hospital to ensure the procedure worked.
Dr Malhotra told MailOnline: ‘A less likely option instead of a stent would be he needed a pacemaker, if he had a problem with his heart rhythm.’
There has been no previous suggestion that the Duke has suffered from an irregular heartbeat, although he does have an underlying heart condition which can spark this.
Palace officials have remained tight-lipped as to the cause of his time in hospital.