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Philip's 'in good spirits' but will stay in hospital

By Terri Judd

Doctors have refused to release the Duke of Edinburgh from hospital, forcing him to spend a fourth night away from the royal family - and his beloved Boxing Day shoot - following emergency heart surgery.

A spokesperson from Papworth Hospital, in Cambridgeshire, where the 90-year-old is recovering after being taken ill on Friday suffering from chest pains, said Prince Philip would remain under observation but was "in good spirits".

The Queen's husband underwent minor surgery over the weekend to insert a stent, opening an artery that had been blocked.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman confirmed he had not been given a release date.

"The Duke will remain in hospital under observation for a short period," he said.

"The Queen will continue to be briefed on his condition. We do not have details of a release date at this stage."

Prince Philip's stay in hospital meant he missed the traditional royal family Christmas at Sandringham House, in Norfolk, an event he has attended for the past 50 years.

This is the most serious health scare suffered by the Duke, who is known for being a robust and active 90-year-old.

On Sunday, the Duke of Cambridge and his younger brother Harry drove separate cars to the hospital from Sandringham, the Queen's private Norfolk estate, taking the Duke of York's daughters Beatrice and Eugenie and the Princess Royal's children Zara and Peter with them for the 45-minute visit to their grandfather.

They made the journey after enjoying Christmas Day lunch at Sandringham, having changed into more casual attire than their earlier outfits for the traditional Christmas church service at the estate.

William, who is rarely photographed wearing glasses, wore them as he drove a Range Rover with Peter and Zara as his passengers, while Harry drove an Audi with Beatrice and Eugenie inside.

Their visit would have been a welcome distraction for the Duke who missed the Christmas morning service at Sandringham, an annual tradition for the royal family since the early 1990s.

Around 3,000 well-wishers gathered outside St Mary Magdalene Church to see the royals, including the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, the Princess Royal and the Duke of York.

Factfile

The Queen's Christmas Day message, recorded before her husband (above) fell ill, described the importance of family. In times of hardship we often "find strength from our families" and in a crisis communities "break down barriers" to help each other, she said in her annual address to the nation.

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