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Prince Philip 'responding well to treatment'

  • 16 Aug 2012
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ABERDEEN, United Kingdom (AFP)
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II's 91-year-old husband Prince Philip, who is in hospital with a bladder infection, is responding well to treatment, Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.

"It is unclear when he will be discharged, but he is likely to remain in hospital for a few more days," the palace added in a statement.

Philip was taken by ambulance to hospital in the Scottish city of Aberdeen on Wednesday, following a recurrence of the bladder infection that laid him low during the queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in June.

It is the prince's third health scare in the space of eight months, after he suffered a blocked coronary artery over Christmas last year which required the insertion of a stent.

He and the queen were staying at the royal family's residence at Balmoral in northeast Scotland when he was taken ill and driven to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, about 40 miles (60 kilometres) away.

Buckingham Palace said on Wednesday that he was hospitalised as a "precautionary measure".

Philip, whose official title is the Duke of Edinburgh, had appeared in good health on Monday as he carried out public engagements on the Isle of Wight, off southern England.

He had also attended several events at the London Olympics over the past two weeks, and appeared delighted as he watched his granddaughter Zara Phillips, who went on to win a silver medal in the equestrian events.

But age has begun to take its toll. The prince spent five nights in hospital with a bladder infection in June, forcing him to miss the end of the huge diamond jubilee celebrations marking the queen's 60th year on the throne.

The infection came after he spent several hours standing on a royal barge in heavy rain as part of a jubilee pageant on the River Thames.

On the night he was taken ill, hundreds of thousands of revellers chanted his name to wish him well at a star-studded jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace.

A few days before Christmas he was flown by helicopter to hospital for surgery on a blocked coronary artery after suffering chest pains.

Greek-born Philip is the longest-serving royal consort in British history, and has been the queen's stalwart companion throughout her reign.

He is famous for his politically incorrect jokes, but behind the scenes is said to be a key source of support for the queen.

"He has been a constant strength and guide," the 86-year-old monarch told parliament in March.

Born Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark, Philip fled Greece with his family when he was just 18 months old as the country was seized by political instability.

An officer in Britain's Royal Navy during World War II, he had met Princess Elizabeth in 1939, but the couple did not marry until 1947.

He had to give up his Greek and Danish titles and join the Church of England in order to marry the future queen, and his career was cut short by the death of king George VI in 1952, which brought Elizabeth to the throne.

He once admitted the curtailment of his promising naval career was "disappointing", but said that "being married to the queen, it seemed to me that my first duty was to serve her in the best way I could".

They have four children. The eldest is heir to the throne Prince Charles.

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