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Prince Philip thanks medical staff as he returns to Windsor Castle after longest hospital stay

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Car leaves hospital after Duke of Edinburgh's treatment

Prince Philip has left hospital after his longest ever stay, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

A statement from the palace read: "The Duke of Edinburgh has today been discharged from King Edward VII’s Hospital and has returned to Windsor Castle, following treatment for an infection and a successful procedure for a pre-existing condition.

"His Royal Highness wishes to thank all the medical staff who looked after him at both King Edward VII’s Hospital and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and everyone who has sent their good wishes."

A screen was erected outside on Tuesday morning and the duke left the hospital and was driven away.

Police cars had blocked access for vehicles to the King Edward VII hospital where he had been recovering from a heart procedure.

Four officers on motorcycles joined about a dozen others at the entrance.

Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leaves King Edward VII's Hospital in central London on March 16, 2021. - The 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II was in hospital with a heart condition. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prince Philip leaving King Edward VII's Hospital in central London on 16 March. (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

On Tuesday afternoon, his son Prince Charles said he was "thrilled" that Philip was back at home.

Charles spoke as he was on an engagement in Finsbury Park mosque in North London, visiting the vaccine hub with his wife Camilla.

He said he had spoken to his father several times. 

It's understood Philip is in good spirits.

The palace statement came after the duke had made it back to Windsor Castle, where he has been living for most of the last year.

Philip, 99, was admitted to hospital on 16 February on the advice of his doctor, but it was said to be out of an abundance of caution.

Two weeks later he was transferred to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London for a heart procedure, linked to a pre-existing condition.

Britain's Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh leaves King Edward VII's Hospital in central London on March 16, 2021. - The 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II was in hospital with a heart condition. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Philip was in two different hospitals over the course of two weeks. (Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (obscured) gets into a car as he is seen leaving King Edward VII Hospital on March 16, 2021 in London, England. Buckingham Palace have said, The Duke of Edinburgh has had a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition. Prince Philip was transferred on March 5, from to St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Prince Philip gets into a car as he is seen leaving King Edward VII Hospital. He had asuccessful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Read more: Harry and Meghan: The week that shook the monarchy to its core - and what happens next

He was in the two hospitals for a total of four weeks - by far his longest continuous stay.

He was originally admitted for an infection, walking into the hospital unaided and in "good spirits".

But he was transferred to St Bartholomew's for a heart procedure, which was successful, on 3 March. He was taken back to the private hospital to recover.

Philip was visited by his son, Prince Charles, on 20 February, while he was at King Edward VII.

His family made a few comments about his health while he was in hospital, with the Duchess of Cornwall saying he had "slightly improved", about half way through the stay.

The Duke of Edinburgh (centre) is driven away in a car after leaving the King Edward VII's Hospital, London, where he has been recovering after heart surgery. Picture date: Tuesday March 16, 2021. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Duke of Edinburgh (centre) driven away in a car following his longest stay in hospital. (Stefan Rousseau/PA Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: A screen is put up as a car waits at the side entrance of King Edward VII Hospital on March 16, 2021 in London, England. Buckingham Palace have said, The Duke of Edinburgh has had a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition. Prince Philip was transferred on March 5, from to St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
The duke was recovering at the private hospital in London after the procedure. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

His stay has been during what has become one of the toughest times for the monarchy, with his grandson Prince Harry making a series of bombshell statements during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Harry and his wife Meghan Markle levelled allegations of racism and said they felt unsupported during their time as senior royals.

Buckingham Palace released a statement on behalf of the Queen in which she promised to take the issues very seriously, but said she would address them privately.

The duke turns 100 in less than three months, with his birthday likely to be marked in a small way on 10 June.

Philip has spent most of the past year living in Windsor Castle with his wife, the Queen, making the move down from Sandringham before the first UK lockdown.

They both had their COVID-19 vaccines earlier this year.

The duke retired from public duties in 2017, but carried out a rare engagement in July 2020, as he transferred one of his titles to his daughter-in-law, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh  is seen leaving King Edward VII Hospital on March 16, 2021 in London, England. Buckingham Palace have said, The Duke of Edinburgh has had a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition. Prince Philip was transferred on March 5, from to St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Philip wore a white shirt and yellow knitwear as he left the hospital. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JULY 22: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh during the transfer of the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Windsor Castle on July 22, 2020 in Windsor, England. The Duke of Edinburgh has been Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles since its formation in 2007. HRH served as Colonel-in-Chief of successive Regiments which now make up The Rifles since 1953. The Duchess of Cornwall was appointed Royal Colonel of 4th Battalion The Rifles in 2007. (Photo by Samir Hussein/	Samir Hussein/WireImage )
Prince Philip in July 2020. (Samir Hussein/WireImage )

The duke was last in hospital just before Christmas in 2019, when he was taken in on his doctor's advice as a precaution.

He was there for four days before leaving in time for Christmas at Sandringham.

He had a hip operation in September 2018 at the same hospital and was there for 10 days. It was a planned operation.

In June 2017, he spent three days in the hospital with an infection.