Diamond Jubilee 2012: Duke to miss finale after being hospitalised

THE Duke of Edinburgh missed last night’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations after he was admitted to hospital in London.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said Prince Philip, who is 91 on Sunday, had been admitted as a “precautionary measure” with a bladder infection and would remain under observation for a few days. The health scare came hours before the duke was due to join other members of the Royal Family for the massive Diamond Jubilee Concert being held in front of the palace.

At the end of the concert, the Prince of Wales urged the crowd to “shout loud enough” so his father would be able to hear the cheers in hospital across the city “and get better”.

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The massive crowd in front of the palace, down the Mall in St James’s Park and in Hyde Park then began chanting “Philip, Philip, Philip”.

Speaking on the stage, Charles’s comments about his father and the response from the crowd appeared to move the Queen, who seemed at one point to struggle to maintain her usual composure.

Earlier, there was a huge cheer from the crowd as the Queen arrived at the event, which she attended with other members of the Royal Family.

Prince Philip was taken from Windsor Castle to the King Edward VII Hospital in west London yesterday afternoon.

It was the second time he had been hospitalised in six months. Last December, he underwent heart surgery to clear a blocked coronary artery.

A statement issued by Buckingham Palace said: “His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh was taken to hospital in London this afternoon from Windsor Castle as a precautionary measure after developing a bladder infection, which is being assessed and treated.

“Prince Philip will remain in hospital under observation for a few days.

“He is understandably disappointed about missing this evening’s Diamond Jubilee Concert and tomorrow’s engagements.”

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Staff at the Berkshire ambulance centre received a telephone call from Windsor Castle shortly after 2pm yesterday, alerting them to fact that Prince Philip was unwell.

It is believed the medical crew that went to the royal residence used a chair to move him into the ambulance.

The drama came the day after the duke and the Queen endured a gruelling day in rain and wind as they stood for most of an 80-minute journey on the deck of the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, which was the centrepiece of the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames.

The duke, in naval uniform, appeared to be in good spirits during the trip.

However, he later took ill and will be unable to attend the last of the four-day Diamond Jubilee celebrations – the national service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral today.

This will be followed by two receptions, a lunch at Westminster Hall and a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace, with a balcony appearance by the Queen and a fly-past.

While the duke has generally been considered to be in robust health for a man of his age, last December he was airlifted to hospital after complaining of chest pains while at the Queen’s private Sandringham estate in Norfolk. He was admitted to hospital on 23 December and on Christmas Eve underwent surgery to treat a blocked coronary artery.

He spent four days recovering in hospital before returning to Sandringham.

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He joked about his health in March while on a Jubilee visit to a primary school in Harrow, north-west London, when he turned down a chance to join a football coaching session, saying his heart was not up to it. Prior to that, he was beset by an uncharacteristic cold in October, which forced him to pull out of an overnight stay in Italy.

He had just completed a busy 11-day official royal tour to Australia with the Queen that saw the royal couple visit Perth, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

Last night, Dr Dean Marshall, chair of the British Medical Association’s Scottish GPs’ committee, said many people of the duke’s age suffering from a bladder infection would be treated at home.

“But you can’t really tell how ill he is by the fact that he is in hospital,” said Dr Marshall. “I would assume the Royal Family don’t muck around when someone like the duke becomes ill. But lots of elderly people get treated at home with antibiotics.

“I would also say it’s wrong to say that because he was out in the cold on Sunday he got a chill. A bug is a bug. When people are that age, the main infections are to the chest and bladder. Depending on how bad it is, they can get confused and delirious.”

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