Prince Philip in 'good spirits' on 92nd birthday in hospital

10th June 2013, Comments 0 comments

British Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip was "in good spirits" as he spent his 92nd birthday in hospital recovering from exploratory abdominal surgery, Buckingham Palace said Monday.

The royal patriarch is expected to stay in the private London Clinic for up to two weeks following an operation on Friday, and will spend the following two months convalescing, the palace said.

"His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh is progressing according to plans at this early stage. He is comfortable and in good spirits," a brief statement said.

"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 reason he needed an operation has not been made public but it followed abdominal investigations the week before last.

The queen, 87, visited him later Monday, staying for around half-an-hour before being whisked away in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Prince Edward, their youngest son, was the first family member to visit. The Earl of Wessex spent about 20 minutes at the hospital earlier Monday.

The 49-year-old only told reporters his father was "well, thank-you", as he left.

A man turned up at the hospital delivering flowers and two balloons, one reading "Feel better", and the other "Keep calm birthday boy" with a crown on top.

Prince Philip's birthday was also marked by traditional royal gun salutes at the Tower of London and Hyde Park in the capital, as well as from Edinburgh Castle.

"Happy Birthday" was played during the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.

As usual, the British flag was flying on government buildings across the country to mark his birthday.

Prime Minister David Cameron sent the prince his best wishes.

"Wishing the Duke of Edinburgh a very happy 92nd birthday as he recovers in hospital," he wrote on Twitter.

Prince Philip is renowned for his no-fuss, 'get on with it' attitude and is unlikely to take kindly to two months enforced absence from duty.

The analysis of the prince's operation results was expected to be completed this week.

He was taken to hospital by car for the planned appointment shortly after attending a Buckingham Palace garden party on Thursday.

The queen spent the weekend at her Windsor Castle residence west of London, having officially opened the BBC's refurbished headquarters on Friday, a few streets away from the London Clinic.

The couple have been married since 1947, with Prince Philip the longest-serving royal consort in British history.

The queen once described him as "my strength and stay all these years".

Prince Philip has now been hospitalised four times in two years, but aides insist he is generally in good health for a man of his age.

© 2013 AFP

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