London (AFP) – Queen Elizabeth II’s 96-year-old husband Prince Philip was due to undergo hip surgery on Wednesday at a private hospital in London, Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
The royal residence said Prince Philip would have “planned surgery on his hip” at King Edward VII’s Hospital in central London, which often treats members of Britain’s royal family.
In a statement on Tuesday, the palace said: “His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London this afternoon, for planned surgery on his hip which will take place tomorrow”.
Prince Philip retired from public life last year but has since appeared several times at royal engagements alongside Queen Elizabeth.
He was forced to miss the Easter religious services last week, however, due to the problem with his hip.
At a ceremony commemorating Britain’s war dead last November, he appeared to be having trouble standing and leaned against a wall.
Scarlett McNally, an orthopaedic surgeon and council member of the Royal College of Surgeons, said fitness was more important than age when it came to recovering from surgery.
“Any operation and any anaesthetic carries some risk,” she said.
“What is most important is someone’s fitness, as in their heart and lung fitness, how much exercise they do and how well nourished they are. That’s more important than someone’s chronological age.”
Prince Philip has been a constant and often mischievous presence at royal functions for decades and is well-known for punctuating royal pomp with a taste for off-colour jokes.
He has been largely blessed with good health, but he has been admitted to hospital with various complaints in recent years. He accompanied the queen on visits abroad as late as 2015.
The two were introduced in 1939 when then princess Elizabeth’s father king George VI and his family toured the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, in England’s south coast, where Philip was a cadet.
They kept in touch during World War II when he served on battleships in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean and they met on a number of occasions.
But it was not until July 1947 that their engagement was announced and they tied the knot that year on November 20 at Westminster Abbey in London.
Never one to talk about his own feelings, the queen has been more forthcoming about his worth.
“He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years” the queen said in a golden wedding anniversary speech in 1997.