Following a five-day stint in the hospital for what Buckingham Palace called a “pre-existing condition,” Prince Philip was discharged Tuesday. 

Buckingham Palace told USA TODAY that the 98-year-old Duke of Edinburgh had left the London hospital to join his family at wife Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham retreat for Christmas. 

“His Royal Highness would like to thank everyone who sent their good wishes,” the statement added. 

Live footage showed the prince leaving the hospital on foot and entering a vehicle unaided. He was dressed elegantly with his tie in a Windsor knot and waved to a nurse as he departed the hospital.

Philip had been in the private King Edward VII hospital since Friday. The palace previously said his admittance was a “precautionary measure.”

“The Duke of Edinburgh (traveled) from Norfolk this morning to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement Friday. “The admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’ Doctor.”

The London hospital is hours away from Norfolk. It was not immediately clear why that hospital was chosen for treatment, and the palace declined to issue further details. 

He has suffered from heart disease and other ailments including a bladder infection in recent years and has largely stepped out of the public eye since he announced his retirement from royal duties in 2017.

Prince Charles: Prince Philip is ‘being looked after very well’ in the hospital

The Palace said at the time the decision was not health-related and was simply a reflection of his advanced years. “I’ve done my bit,” Philip told friends when he stepped down.

On Monday, Prince Charles said his father was faring well but was suffering from age-related problems.

“When you get to that age, things don’t work so well,” he said.

Although the royal has had a series of health scares over the last seven years, he is robustly hale for his years.

He attended the wedding of his grandson, Prince Harry, to the former American actress Meghan Markle, in May 2018, just weeks after undergoing successful hip-replacement surgery.

The duke has been hospitalized multiple times since the end of 2011. In December of that year, he was rushed to the hospital when he suffered chest pains during the royal family’s annual Christmas holiday at Sandringham, the queen’s Norfolk estate. He underwent an emergency stent procedure to correct a blocked artery and was released four days later, joining the family for New Year’s Day church services.

Original story: Prince Philip, 98, sent to the hospital for ‘observation and treatment’

He also was hospitalized in 2012, during his wife’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, for what was described as a sudden bladder infection.

On Jan. 17, The Duke of Edinburgh emerged unscathed from a car wreck near the royal Sandringham estate. He decided to give up his license after the crash. 

“After careful consideration The Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving license,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement at the time.

It is not known if Philip will be strong enough to attend a Christmas morning church service traditionally attended by the queen and other senior royals.

Church is usually followed by a family lunch at Sandringham and then the broadcast of the queen’s pre-recorded message to Britain and the Commonwealth countries. Excerpts released ahead of time reveal the queen plans to admit it has been a “bumpy” year.

Contributing: Maria Puente, Hannah Yasharoff, Anika Reed and The Associated Press.


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