Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Duke of Edinburgh at home for New Year

Prince Philip

The Duke of Edinburgh appeared in good health as he joined the rest of the royal family for the New Year's Day service at Sandringham.

While the Queen arrived in a Bentley, the Duke chose to make the 400-metre trip from Sandringham House to the estate's church on foot.

Wearing a camel coat, he walked briskly and appeared relaxed as he exchanged greetings with onlookers.

There had been doubts about whether the Duke would attend following the health scare that forced him to miss his first Christmas at Sandringham since the early 1990s.

He was admitted to Papworth Hospital, Cambridgeshire, on December 23 where doctors discovered a blocked artery.

The 90-year-old underwent a "minimally invasive procedure" of coronary stenting that was declared a success. He was discharged on Tuesday.

About 500 members of the public watched as the Queen arrived at yesterday's 45-minute service. The Earl and Countess of Wessex also attended.

During the service the Queen read part of the nativity story from the New Testament while prayers were said for servicemen in Afghanistan.

Afterwards the Duke walked ahead of the rest of the royal party and returned to the house alone.

The Queen, wearing a vivid blue coat and hat with red detail, collected flowers from about 40 children and was helped into the waiting car by the Countess of Wessex.

There had been fears that the Duke's condition, the most serious health scare he has suffered, could disrupt his involvement in this year's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The Duke, who is known for being robust and active, had hoped to be discharged from hospital in time for the Boxing Day shoot at Sandringham, which he normally leads, but remained under observation in hospital. He was discharged on December 27.

Despite the setback, Philip was said to be in good spirits.

He has shunned the pursuits of typical pensioners and even as an octogenarian continued to compete in demanding carriage driving competitions.

His next formal engagement is a dinner at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge on January 17.

Factfile

Prince Philip's most recent illness was an uncharacteristic cold in October that forced him to pull out of an overnight stay in Italy for the launch of the ARC Green Pilgrimage Network. At the time, he had just completed a busy 11-day royal tour to Australia with the Queen that saw them visit Perth, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane.

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