Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, is expected not to undertake any royal duties in order to convalesce after undergoing exploratory surgery in a London hospital, Buckingham Palace said.
The prince, also known by his official title as the Duke of Edinburgh, turned 92 today and has been suffering increasing health problems in the past 18 months. He was taken on June 6 to the London Clinic, a private hospital, for what Buckingham Palace said was a planned admittance after abdominal tests.
“His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh is progressing according to plans at this early stage,” Buckingham Palace said in an e-mailed statement today. “He is comfortable and in good spirits. He will remain in hospital for up to two weeks, and it is expected he will then be taking a period of convalescence of approximately two months.”
The duke had about 30 engagements over a similar two-month period in summer last year, according to the Court Circular on the royal family’s website.
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, 87, at Buckingham Palace on June 6 before going into the hospital, and television pictures showed him smiling and shaking hands with guests.
The London Clinic, located on Harley Street in the capital’s West End, describes itself as one of the U.K.’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.”