Buckingham Palace tried today to play down fears about the Duke of Edinburgh’s health, telling the Daily Beast that the operation for ‘abdominal investigations’ taking place today "was planned" and that the duke is otherwise in "good health". However, they reiterated earlier guidance that the Duke faces a long hospital stay, and is expected to stay in hospital for up to two weeks.
The Duke, who turns 92 on Sunday, attended a garden party at Buckingham Palace for 8,000 people yesterday afternoon and was said to be on good form.
The abdominal surgery follows tests last week.
Meanwhile, the Queen put a cheerful face on the first of what is likely to be many solo engagements following her husband’s hospitalization, when she visited the new HQ of the BBC in central London, walking through the newsroom and at one stage appearing somewhat bizarrely in the background of the studio shot.
The Queen met BBC stalwarts including David Dimbleby and Sir Bruce Forsyth, before unveiling a plaque marking the occasion.
Lord Patten wished the Duke of Edinburgh a quick recovery from his operation.
The Queen did not allude directly to Prince Philip’s surgery but said she recalled a first visit to the same building shortly after World War II with her husband.
“I remember first coming to Broadcasting House with my father the King and my mother and sister shortly before the war. I came again with the Duke of Edinburgh shortly before the coronation in 1953.
“I was struck then, as I am now, by the sheer pace of change which has transformed your industry over the past 60 years, years during which broadcasting has enriched our lives in so many ways,” she said.
The BBC HQ is just a short distance from where her husband is in hospital.