As Prince Philip rounds out his first full week in hospital, many may be wondering whether the Queen will soon pay a visit.
As it stands, his eldest son Prince Charles has been the only member of the Royal Family to visit the 99-year-old Duke’s bedside since he was taken to hospital last Tuesday, local time, after complaints of “feeling unwell”.
According to the latest updates, he is said to be in “good spirits” at London’s King Edward VII’s Hospital, with grandson Prince William today describing him as doing “OK” while medics were “keeping an eye on him”.
Meanwhile the Queen, 94, has been isolating at Windsor Castle amid the pandemic, with both her and Philip having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine in January.
Buckingham Palace has not given any updates as to whether Her Majesty will visit her husband in hospital in what would be a 41 km journey from Windsor.
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It was previously reported that due to strict COVID-19 restrictions, visitors were banned from the hospital to reduce the risk of virus transmission to already sick patients.
The hospital said that visitors would only be allowed in “exceptional circumstances”, leaving royal fans concerned should the Queen be seen attending the hospital, it could mean the worst.
On Saturday afternoon, Prince Charles wore a face mask as he headed into the building for around 40 minutes, and emerged looking sombre with bloodshot eyes as he was driven away.
Meanwhile, The Sun reports Prince Harry called the Queen from LA to ask about his grandfather’s health. It comes as the Duke of Sussex has reportedly quarantined himself in preparation to fly back to the UK by private jet. He is being kept “regularly informed” of Prince Philip’s health, according to The Mirror.
The palace confirmed last Thursday, Australian time, that Philip would likely spend “several days” in care after “feeling unwell”.
He was said to be in high spirits on arrival, but has been told he needs to stay in bed for “rest and observation” for a longer stay than initially thought.
It is understood the royal doctors ordered him to hospital as a “precautionary measure” after he complained of feeling under the weather.
The Duke was last hospitalised in December 2019, spending four nights in the same hospital for what Buckingham Palace said was planned treatment of a pre-existing condition.
He was discharged on Christmas Eve and driven to Sandringham, where he spent Christmas with the Queen.
Having just spent his fifth night in care, his wife — to whom he has been married for 73 years as longest-serving royal consort in British history — would no doubt be growing increasingly worried.
THE QUEEN & PRINCE PHILIP’S LOVE STORY
While many royal pairings in history were arranged marriages, Philip and then-Princess Elizabeth genuinely fell for one another during a courtship that spanned a number of years and a world war.
Now the longest married royal couple in history, their more than seven decade union has been the cornerstone of the Windsor family and the monarchy.
“He’s the only person in the world who can treat her like a normal woman. And he does,” Gyles Brandreth, author of Philip & Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage, once said.
“I mean, no one else is normal with her. There is an invisible moat around the queen at all times. That in mind, even her children will bow and curtsy to her.”
A truly remarkable love story, he and the Queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren together, with the monarch having once referred to him as her “strength and stay” for his constant source of support.
The third cousins (they shared the same great-great-grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert), first met in 1934 at a family wedding and then again in 1937 at the coronation of George VI.
But it was in 1939, when Elizabeth’s parents the Queen and King visited Dartmouth Naval College, with their young daughters in tow, that then-13-year-old Elizabeth first noticed Philip.
According to reports, the 18-year-old impressed Elizabeth by jumping backwards and forwards across a tennis net. The Princess’ beloved nanny, Marion “Crawfie” Crawford, would later write that she “never took her eyes off him”.
The Queen’s cousin, Margaret Rhodes later reiterated the sentiment, saying: “She never looked at anyone else.”
When war broke out in 1939, Philip was sent away, however the duo stayed in contact, with teenage Elizabeth regularly writing her now husband.
According to royal biographer Kitty Kelley, it was Philip’s uncle Lord Louis Mountbatten who encouraged Philip to stay in touch with the Princess (“A card here, a note there, would be very nice, my boy”).
Years later when Philip came to stay at Windsor Castle for Christmas in 1943, romance reportedly bloomed when he watched then-17-year-old Elizabeth perform in a pantomime version of Aladdin.
After the war, in 1946, Philip returned to London and headed north to the Windsors’ Scottish estate, Balmoral. During a walk in the garden with Elizabeth he proposed, with the then-princess accepting immediately.
They announced their engagement to the world on July 10, 1947, with Philip abandoning his Greek and Danish royal titles and taking the surname Mountbatten from his mother’s family.
They were married at Westminster Abbey, with the ceremony broadcast throughout the world by radio, on November 20, 1947. Philip then became the Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.
Their first child, Prince Charles, was born in 1948, followed by Princess Anne in 1950, Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964.
Their path to marriage — much like their children and grandchildren — wasn’t without its difficulties, with some viewing Philip as unfit for marriage into British nobility. For years he would be rudely called “the Hun” or “the refugee” given he was born in Greece.
And of the 2,500 wedding invitations sent out, he was given only two.
The weight of what he was about to commit to reportedly weighed on Philip on his wedding day. Lord Mountbatten’s daughter Patricia later said that just prior to the ceremony: “I saw him just after breakfast that morning. We were alone together – we were cousins and we knew each other very well – and I said something about what an exciting day it was and, suddenly, he said to me, ‘Am I being very brave or very foolish?’”
The daughter of the Duchess of Marlborough once told Kitty Kelley: “He came from the other side of the tracks, which attracted Elizabeth,” she added that he was “drop dead glamorous” to Elizabeth when she met him.
“Although he was never quite digested into the British establishment, he decided in time to become just as pretentious, dull, and stuffy as the rest of us, while pushing his own personality uphill,” she added.
DUTY TO THE QUEEN
He dedicated himself entirely to supporting his wife when she suddenly became Queen.
On the 6th of February, 1952 while the pair were on a royal trip to Kenya, her father the King died suddenly, immediately transforming 25-year-old Elizabeth into the monarch. It was Philip who broke the devastating news to his wife.
At her 1953 coronation, Philip kissed her and promised to be her “liegeman of life and limb”.
Michael Parker, the Prince’s private secretary once said: “(Philip) told me his job, first, second and last, was never to let her down.”
The Queen — aware of his unwavering duty to her side — paid tribute to her husband during her 2012 Diamond Jubilee, saying: “During these years as your Queen, the support of my family has, across the generations, been beyond measure. Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide.”
The pair are still regularly be photographed enjoying a giggle together at events.
Philip famously once told his wife, during a tour in Australia when she was faced with the prospect of shaking thousands of hands, “Cheer up, sausage. It is not so bad as all that.”
He is also said to have given her the affectionate, but less-than-regal, nickname of Cabbage.
Veteran royal reporter Gwen Robyns has said that during tours: “Philip was fiercely protective of her when her energy started flagging. He would leap to her side and wave off photographers, if he thought they were getting too close or might embarrass her.”