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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The wave that says 'I'm ok': Smiling Prince Philip leaves hospital after four nights to rejoin Royal Family at Sandringham

-Duke left with a grin and a wave as he was finally released
-He was said to be disappointed to miss Boxing Day pheasant shoot
-Tube was placed into his heart to keep artery open and reduce the pain
-No decision taken on how soon the Duke will resume public engagements

By Charles Walford

I'm fine! With a wave to reporters, Prince Philip was driven away from Papworth Hospital to rejoin the Royal Family at Sandringham

A smiling Prince Philip was driven away from hospital this morning to join his family at Sandringham.

After spending four nights at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire following a heart procedure, the Duke of Edinburgh was released shortly before 9.30am today.

As he was driven away in a dark Range Rover he rolled his window down to grin and wave at reporters and well-wishers who had gathered outside the hospital.

The Duke of Edinburgh seemed pleased to be leaving hospital after receiving treatment for a blocked artery

After he left hospital, Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying: 'His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was discharged from Papworth Hospital this morning.
He is returning to Sandringham by car.

'On departure, Prince Philip thanked the staff at Papworth for the excellent care he has received during his stay. He is very much looking forward to rejoining his family.'

A spokesman said no decision had been taken on how soon the Duke would resume public engagements or whether he would attend church on Sunday.

Despite his eagerness to rejoin the Royals at home for Christmas, Prince Philip had been forced to spend a fourth night in hospital.

He was particularly disappointed to miss the family’s annual Boxing Day pheasant shoot.

He was visited yesterday by six of the royal grandchildren, including Princes William and Harry, at Papworth Hospital near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, where he is recovering after treatment on a blocked coronary artery.

He has been in the Cambridgeshire hospital since Friday, when he had a coronary stent fitted.

He was taken to hospital after he had chest pains while at the Royal Family's Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

Health scare: Prince Philip had been in Papworth Hospital since Christmas Eve

The 90-year-old did not get to lead the traditional shoot, as he normally would, but was comforted by a 45-minute visit from the princes, as well as the Duke of York’s daughters Beatrice and Eugenie and the Princess Royal’s children Zara and Peter.

The blow came a day after what is thought to be the first Christmas morning service at Sandringham he has missed since it became a tradition for the Royals in the 1990s.

Just hours after his life-saving operation, Philip was demanding to be released from hospital.

‘I feel fine’, the irascible 90-year-old told doctors who had carried out an emergency operation to treat a blocked coronary artery. ‘I don’t want to make a fuss. I just want to go home.’

The Queen, who flew the 60 miles by helicopter from Sandringham on Christmas Eve to be with her husband of 64 years, remained at the Norfolk estate with the rest of her family.

At her request, thoughts were with Philip as prayers were said for the duke during a community service at St Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas Day.

It was the second visit to St Mary’s that the 85-year-old Queen had made that day.

For the first, she was driven as usual to the church, accompanied by her daughter-in-law the Countess of Wessex, while the rest of her family, headed by Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, went on foot.

The presence of the Duchess of Cambridge, spending her first Christmas as a member of the Royal Family, helped to attract a record 3,000 well-wishers.

The Queen accepted dozens of bouquets helped by three of her grandchildren, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie and the Wessexes’ daughter Lady Louise Windsor.

Dressed to impress: At her first Royal Christmas the Duchess of Cambridge looked elegant in a simple maroon outfit by a British designer, while the Queen wore a lavender coat with a glittering diamond and pearl brooch

On the way to the church: (Left to right) Prince Andrew, Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall made their way to the service while Prince Philip recovers in hospital

The Duke was airlifted to hospital on Friday night after complaining of severe chest pains and was discovered to have a blocked artery which was starving his heart of oxygen.

He underwent a ‘minor’ invasive procedure under local anaesthetic to insert a stent into the artery, freeing the flow of blood.

The prognosis is extremely good, although doctors are understandably cautious about a man of his age.

It is not yet clear if Philip's heart problem will cause a reduction in his plans to travel with the queen next year to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. He is scheduled to make a series of trips to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to help her mark her 60th year on the throne.

Now that Philip has been found to have coronary artery blockages, he is likely to be treated with several medications that are routinely prescribed for heart patients.

The goal is to prevent future coronary artery blockages and a possible heart attack.

In most cases these medicines would include a daily dosage of aspirin to thin the blood, a statin to lower cholesterol, and possibly a beta-blocker and a separate medicine to control his blood pressure.

Philip would also be expected to have his heart function tested every six months or so to check for any changes.

Festive gift: Her Majesty receives flowers from well-wishers following the Christmas Day church service



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