The Queen leaves a church service in Sandringham. Her husband was too ill to attend. Picture: PA via AP
The Queen leaves a church service in Sandringham. Her husband was too ill to attend. Picture: PA via AP

Queen’s lonely church visit without Philip

The Queen has attended a church service near the royal family's Sandringham estate, while her husband Prince Philip remains in hospital.

The Duke of Edinburgh was flown by helicopter last Friday from the Norfolk estate to a top London hospital for "observation and treatment" for a pre-existing condition.

Prince Philip is currently receiving care at the private King Edward VII hospital where he is expected to "spend a few more days", which is likely to rule him out of the royal family's Christmas celebrations.

The Queen attended church near the royal family’s Sandringham estate. Picture: PA via AP
The Queen attended church near the royal family’s Sandringham estate. Picture: PA via AP

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: "The admission is a precautionary measure on the advice of His Royal Highness's doctor."

Police officers are standing guard outside the building following his admission. The hospital dash follows a month of ill health for the Duke, including a nasty fall.

Meanwhile, the Queen did not change her schedule and left Buckingham Palace for Norfolk by train, to begin her traditional festive break at her private Sandringham estate, reports The Sun.

The Queen travelled to the service with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who is married to Prince Edward. Picture: PA via AP
The Queen travelled to the service with Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who is married to Prince Edward. Picture: PA via AP

It means she will also attend the royals' annual Christmas Day Service without Prince Philip by her side.

"The Duke had a bad fall and was confined to bed for a couple of days".

"He didn't break anything, but it gave everyone a scare. He suffers from gout which makes him more irritable and he has lost his appetite," a royal source said.

"Those around him were worried as he'd stopped eating and didn't want to go out.

"But he's a 98-year-old man and this is all very common at this age.

 

The Queen and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Picture: PA via AP
The Queen and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. Picture: PA via AP

"He's been in good health generally but missed the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday for the first time.

"And for the first time in what feels like centuries he won't be seen shooting anywhere this year, not even on the Sandringham estate which is a great shame."

A friend of the Duke of Edinburgh also revealed that despite previously stating he doesn't wish for his life to drag on in old age, he is now very keen to make it to 100.

Police and hospital personnel outside King Edward VII's Hospital, in London, where Prince Philip is under care. Picture: AP
Police and hospital personnel outside King Edward VII's Hospital, in London, where Prince Philip is under care. Picture: AP

His decision to retire from public duties during 2017 was not health-related, Buckingham Palace said at the time of the announcement.

The latest news about Prince Philip cames amid reports Prince Andrew will not celebrate New Year with his family at their $25m Verbier ski lodge.

While Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will spend Christmas in Canada to enjoy some private family time and to reportedly avoid the press.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Picture: Getty
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Picture: Getty

The Duke of Edinburgh is battling a flu-like condition as he lives alone at a farmhouse at Sandringham in England's north.

The Daily Mail in the UK reported that the helicopter transport came despite royal sources saying that the hospital admission was not an emergency.

"The duke has had a bad turn recently and has been looking much frailer of late," a source told the Daily Mail.

"He's a remarkable man who has always prided himself on how robust he is, but he is six months off his 99th birthday and age takes its toll. He hasn't been looking terribly well of late."

It is another blow for the Queen who has had a year to forget following the scandal surrounding her son Prince Andrew.

Prince Andrew with Prince Philip. Picture: Supplied
Prince Andrew with Prince Philip. Picture: Supplied

Prince Philip has only been seen in public three times in 2019 and there have been months of speculation about his health.

Royal sources have been at pains to point out that the hospital admission was not an emergency and he was not taken by ambulance.

The Duke "walked into hospital", according to a UK TV reporter, and was not in a serious condition.

Police and hospital personnel outside King Edward VII's Hospital, in London. Picture: AP
Police and hospital personnel outside King Edward VII's Hospital, in London. Picture: AP

Philip has kept remarkably good health overall for a man of his age, but he was treated for a heart blockage in 2011 and a bladder infection in 2012.

He had surgery on his stomach in 2013 and started using hearing aids in 2014.

Philip was involved in a car crash at Sandringham in January when his Land Rover flipped when it collided with a Kia, injuring a woman.

He was photographed driving again just two days later and he failed to apologise for more than a week.

He surrendered in his licence in February as a result of the crash.

The Duke then appeared in public twice in May but has not been seen since.

He attended the Order of Merit lunch with the Queen at Windsor Castle on May 7 and then went to the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle a week later.

Prince Philip driving Queen Elizabeth in his Land Rover in 2017. Picture: Supplied
Prince Philip driving Queen Elizabeth in his Land Rover in 2017. Picture: Supplied

Philip missed the traditional church service at St Mary Magdalene Church at Sandringham on Christmas Day last year.

There were questions about whether Prince Andrew should attend this year's service because of plans by sexual abuse victims to stage a protest.

Prince Andrew has been forced to stand down from royal duties following his car crash interview about his friendship with notorious paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Andrew has denied any wrongdoing and has denied that he met Australian woman Viriginia Roberts Giuffre, who claims that Epstein coerced her to have sex with the prince when she was 17.

stephen.drill@news.co.uk