The Duke of Edinburgh’s stay in hospital entered an eighth day today amid continuing concerns for his health because he was only expected to stay in for a few days at most.
Prince Philip, 99, walked into the private King Edward VII Hospital in Marylebone a week ago for treatment for an unspecified issue.
He has spent his seventh night in hospital after he was admitted last Tuesday for ‘observation and rest’ after being taken ill – but was said to be in ‘good spirits’.
There was some good news yesterday when Prince William revealed that his 99-year-old grandfather was ‘OK’ in hospital, adding that doctors were ‘keeping an eye on him’.
The Duke of Cambridge was asked how Philip was doing during a visit to a vaccination centre in King’s Lynn and replied: ‘Yes, he’s OK, they’re keeping an eye on him’.
The Duke was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London’s Marylebone, pictured today, where he is starting his eighth day there
Two people at the scene claimed William then lightened the mood by giving a playful wink, but this was not visible in video footage of the exchange.
William also spoke to NHS staff and volunteers about being involved in the Covid-19 vaccination programme with Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust.
It comes after Prince Charles made a 200-mile round trip to see Philip in hospital over the weekend, which royal experts claimed may have been to reassure the Duke about his other grandson Prince Harry and the continuing turmoil caused by Megxit.
Charles’s surprise visit to Philip’s bedside on Saturday afternoon is likely to have touched on the ‘momentous’ events since he was admitted to hospital last Tuesday.
Royal author Penny Junor said while she did not know the reason for Charles’s visit, Harry is likely to have come up.
She said: ‘Momentous things are happening in the family at the moment and I suppose it’s perfectly possible that Charles wanted to go and talk to his father and reassure him about Harry.’
The hospital’s website states visitors will ‘only be considered in exceptional circumstances’. Philip has received no further visits from royal family members since his eldest son, Charles, attended King Edward VII Hospital.
The duke was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday evening as a precautionary measure after feeling unwell. He is said to have walked in unaided. Buckingham Palace said there was no update on the duke’s condition, having previously said he was ‘in good spirits’.
His eldest son Charles made a 200-mile round-trip from his home at Highgrove in Gloucestershire on Saturday afternoon. Charles was the first member of the royal family to visit the duke and it is understood that his visit was due to his father’s extended stay.
There are no further visits to the duke by family members, though police and security cars remained in place at the hospital.
Prince Philip get into a car as he leaves King Edward VII Hospital in London during a previous visit in December 2019
Sources previously said that Philip was likely to remain in hospital into the coming week for ‘observation and rest’.
Heart-shaped balloons and a letter written by a ten-year-old boy from North London, wishing the duke a quick recovery, were tied to the hospital railings.
Philip, who will turn 100 on June 10, is in hospital for an undisclosed reason although it is not coronavirus-related.
Princess Eugenie introduced her new-born son August Philip Hawke Brooksbank to the world over the weekend.
Eugenie, 30, said on Instagram that he was named in part after Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert, whose full name was Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel.
The baby’s name also includes a tribute to the princess’s grandfather Prince Philip, 99, who remained in hospital over the weekend after being admitted for ‘observation and rest’ last Tuesday.
Eugenie shared a photo on Instagram with husband Jack Brooksbank, 34, and their new arrival wrapped in a blue blanket almost two weeks after his birth on February 9.
Prince Charles, pictured following his visit to the Duke of Edinburgh in London on Saturday afternoon, made a 200-mile round trip to spend half an hour at Philip’s side
The Prince of Wales is pictured arriving at King Edward VII Hospital in London on Saturday
The post said: ‘Thank you for so many wonderful messages. Our hearts are full of love for this little human, words can’t express.’
Baby August – the Queen’s ninth great-grandchild – will not have a royal title or role
Meanwhile William is said to have been left ‘really sad and genuinely shocked’ by his brother’s behaviour towards the Queen after Harry and Meghan were cast out as working royals.
The Duke of Cambridge is said to be ‘very upset by what has happened’ and feels Harry has been ‘insulting and disrespectful’ to their grandmother.
The relationship between the two brothers was strained before Friday’s announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had been stripped of their remaining roles after their 12-month trial separation from royal life and move to the US.
The couple then issued a sharp rebuke, declaring they would offer ‘continued support to the organisations they have represented regardless of official role’.
They signed off: ‘We can all live a life of service. Service is universal.’
Sources close to the monarch told The Sunday Times that the riposte was ‘petulant and insulting to the Queen’.
A source told the Mail: ‘Their statement in response to the Queen’s heartfelt sentiment that the couple are still much-loved members of her family was considered highly disrespectful.’
The source added: ‘At the end of the day this was all their [Harry and Meghan’s] decision.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s controversial interview with Oprah Winfey was filmed at their mansion in California, where they are pictured in the garden last September
‘They asked to explore an ‘alternate way’ but the only alternative is that you are either a public servant or you aren’t. She made her view clear from the start and hasn’t ever deviated from that.
‘People [in the household] would have liked a different outcome. Harry and Meghan clearly could have made a very positive contribution to public life in the UK. But from the start they made clear they were only ever interested in pursuing this quasi-royal role.
‘It seems Harry genuinely thought he could persuade Her Majesty of the merits of that. But she has always been clear on this point – you cannot pursue commercial interests while undertaking public duties. It is untenable.’
Another source suggested that there has been widespread exasperation at the ‘inflammatory’ statement and determination to ‘always have the last word’.
They said the Queen had no choice but to act as the situation ‘wasn’t fair’ on the charities and organisations that rely on royal patronage.
Sources said William, 38, felt under pressure over the potential increased workload following his brother’s decision to step back from royal life. One told the Sunday Times: ‘His future looks different because of his brother’s choices – it’s not easy.’
They added: ‘They had shared everything about their lives – an office, a foundation, meetings together most days – and there was a lot of fun along the way. He’ll miss it for ever.’
Prince Charles left the hospital shortly before 4pm on Saturday, half an hour after arriving
Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, have been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey for a ‘tell-all’ discussion
Sources stressed to the Mail that relations between the brothers ‘were not good’, adding: ‘He’s genuinely sad his brother won’t be standing shoulder to shoulder with him.’ However, William, the Queen and the Sussexes are all said to be eager to ease tensions.
One obstacle to improved relations may prove to be the ‘tell-all’ TV interview Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, have agreed to do with Oprah Winfrey.
It is thought they pre-recorded it at their home in California at the start of last week. On Friday Miss Winfrey – a friend and neighbour of the couple who attended their wedding in 2018 – was seen boarding her private jet near their £11million home in Montecito.
It remains to be seen whether the couple will carry out any additional interviews with Miss Winfrey in light of Friday’s announcement.
The Queen was reportedly ‘blindsided’ by the interview, which will be shown on March 7.
Prince William visits local vaccination centre to praise work of staff and volunteers
The Duke of Cambridge has said he would be at the ‘front of the queue’ for a coronavirus jab to prove it is OK – but will ‘wait my turn’.
William’s comments came during his first official in-person event of the year – a visit to his local Covid-19 vaccination centre at the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, a few miles from his Norfolk home.
The duke, who contracted coronavirus last year, walked through the centre, stopping to speak to staff and volunteers at each stage of the process, as well as people receiving their jabs.
He asked vaccinator Debbie Rudd, 50, whether the patients were nervous, adding: ‘I’d be at the front of the queue if I could, just to prove that it’s OK, but I have to wait my turn.’
The Duke of Cambridge wears a face mask as he visits a coronavirus vaccination centre at Kings Lynn Corn Exchange
William kept his coronavirus diagnosis last spring a secret, with the Sun newspaper, which first revealed it, reporting that the duke did not want to alarm the nation at a time when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was seriously ill with Covid-19 and the Prince of Wales was also recovering from the virus.
William’s visit comes amid an eventful period for the monarchy, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stripped of their patronages after the couple confirmed they had permanently stepped down as working royals.
And the Duke of Edinburgh remains in hospital after feeling unwell and being admitted to the King Edward VII’s Hospital in London last week for ‘observation and rest’.
At the end of his tour of the inoculation hub, William was asked about Philip. He replied: ‘Yes, he’s OK – they’re keeping an eye on him’.
The vaccination centre at King’s Lynn opened on February 1 and has delivered thousands of Covid jabs every week since.
Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust delivers the four large-scale vaccination centres across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk and Waveney, alongside a number of GP and pharmacy-led sites.
During his visit, the duke also hailed new research suggesting that the vaccines are reducing hospital admissions by a significant amount.
Prince William speaks to Geoff Smyth, 66, who was waiting to be vaccinated as he visits King’s Lynn Corn Exchange Vaccination Centre
‘The studies that have come out today talk about 90% to 95%, don’t they?’ he said.
‘That’s pretty good, isn’t it? We are a little bit sceptical at times but it’s good news.’
As he made his way around the centre, William showed particular interest in the process of drawing up the vaccine, asking nurse Margot Smith, 52, how it is done and noting that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to store than the Pfizer drug.
Ms Smith showed him how she drew 0.5 millilitre of the vaccine into a vial and then transferred it into a syringe.
‘How many doses are in a vial?’ William asked, adding: ‘You get through a lot of needles, I imagine.’
When told Ms Smith was a school immuniser, he said: ‘You’re probably very used to this work, and on this scale – just getting the job done.’
He asked if schools are now getting behind with their own vaccination programmes, adding: ‘Will you have to play catch-up on that as well?
‘There’s nothing like a challenge. Honestly, you guys have overcome every challenge that’s been thrown at you. Brilliant work.’
On arrival, the duke made a beeline for patient Geoff Smyth, 66, from Hunstanton, who was waiting to get his jab.
William speaks to a nurse at King’s Lynn Corn Exchange Vaccination Centre
Taking a seat, William asked: ‘Are you going to go next? I bet you just want to get it done.’
He inquired how Mr Smyth had been keeping through lockdown and whether he had managed to keep himself busy.
‘It’s all a bit weird though, isn’t it?’ he admitted. ‘A bit odd.’
Finally, the duke met volunteers Fliss and Stewart Davidson, from Downham Market, who usually run an event photography business.
Mrs Davidson, 54, said: ‘We’ve been volunteering for around a month. We love it. We’re really enjoying doing it and we’re glad to be able to help out.
‘The atmosphere is so positive, it’s all smiles and laughter and goodwill.’
William asked how many days they had been working at the centre, and added: ‘It’s amazing how adaptable we can be when we need to be. It’s made us reassess our priorities. When the chips are down…’