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PHIL-ING BETTER

Prince Philip, 98, joins the Queen at Sandringham for Christmas after leaving hospital

PRINCE PHILIP has arrived back at Sandringham to spend Christmas with the Queen and Royal Family after being discharged from hospital today.

The 98-year-old Duke of Edinburgh flew back to Sandringham by helicopter after being driven away from the King Edward VII's Hospital in London this morning following treatment for a pre-existing condition.

Prince Philip was pictured leaving hospital today in time to spend Christmas at Sandringham with the Queen and the Royal Family
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Credit: London News Pictures Prince Philip was pictured leaving hospital today in time to spend Christmas at Sandringham with the Queen and the Royal Family Credit: London News Pictures
Philip looked frail as he walked to his car after his hospital stay
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Credit: London News Pictures Philip looked frail as he walked to his car after his hospital stay Credit: London News Pictures
Philip's helicopter was seen heading towards Sandringham after he left the King Edward VII's Hospital
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Philip's helicopter was seen heading towards Sandringham after he left the King Edward VII's Hospital
Philip left by a secluded exit as he was helped from the hospital
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Credit: PA:Press Association Philip left by a secluded exit as he was helped from the hospital Credit: PA: Press Association
He was led from the hospital after being brought in for; a pre-existing condition '
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Credit: Reuters He was led from the hospital after being brought in for; a pre-existing condition ' Credit: Reuters
The Duke Of Edinburgh was escorted to a waiting vehicle after he left
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Credit: PA:Press Association The Duke Of Edinburgh was escorted to a waiting vehicle after he left Credit: PA: Press Association
Philip walked towards his waiting car as he departed hospital to spend Christmas with the Royal Family
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Credit: London News Pictures Philip walked towards his waiting car as he departed hospital to spend Christmas with the Royal Family Credit: London News Pictures
Philip wore a dark suit and blue tie as he was driven away from hospital today
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Credit: Reuters Philip wore a dark suit and blue tie as he was driven away from hospital today Credit: Reuters
The Duke got into the passenger seat of the waiting car
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Credit: PA:Press Association The Duke got into the passenger seat of the waiting car Credit: PA: Press Association
Philip was seen leaving the King Edward VII Hospital in London today
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Philip was seen leaving the King Edward VII Hospital in London today

He was flown in a luxury Royal helicopter directly into the grounds of Sandringham House this morning, arriving at about 9.40am.

Philip had been taken by helicopter from Sandringham to London for “observation and treatment” in hospital on Friday.

But despite fears he would remain in hospital over the festive period, Philip was pictured today leaving the private hospital just before 9am after four nights.

Buckingham Palace confirmed Philip had now returned to the Queen's private estate in Norfolk.

A palace spokesman said: "The Duke of Edinburgh has today left hospital after being discharged by his Doctor and is now back at Sandringham.

"His Royal Highness would like to thank everyone who sent their good wishes."

The hospital dash follows a month of ill health for the Duke, including a nasty fall.

The Duke Of Edinburgh has been in hospital since Friday
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Credit: PA:Press Association The Duke Of Edinburgh has been in hospital since Friday Credit: PA: Press Association
Prince Philip was pictured leaving hospital this morning after four nights
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Credit: PA:Press Association Prince Philip was pictured leaving hospital this morning after four nights Credit: PA: Press Association
Philip was driven away from hospital and is expected to travel to Sandringham
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Credit: PA:Press Association Philip was driven away from hospital and is expected to travel to Sandringham Credit: PA: Press Association
Philip walked to the Land Rover Discovery before sitting in the front seat
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Credit: Reuters Philip walked to the Land Rover Discovery before sitting in the front seat Credit: Reuters
The Queen attended a church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, on Sunday
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Credit: PA:Press Association The Queen attended a church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, on Sunday Credit: PA: Press Association
Flight data shows the path Philip's helicopter took this morning
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Credit: flightradar24/East Anglia News Service Flight data shows the path Philip's helicopter took this morning Credit: flightradar24 / East Anglia News Service

A frail-looking Duke got into the front passenger seat of Land Rover Discovery in a secluded street behind the hospital.

Philip didn't respond to photographers as he was driven away to continue his journey by air.

Flight tracking records reveal he was picked up in London at around 9.05am by a mauve coloured Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.

The helicopter whisked him up to the 20,000-acre Royal estate, flying at speeds of up to 175mph at a height of 3,300ft.

Police stepped up security with extra patrols on the roads around Sandringham House as the helicopter swooped in over West Newton.

Villagers and visitors to the estate watching from the ground cheered and clapped as they gazed up at the sky to see the twin-engined helicopter overhead.

The helicopter touched down on one of the lawns at Sandringham House, meaning Philip only had a short walk to get inside.

The chopper started its journey from its base in Hampshire shortly before 8.30am.

It arrived around 15 minutes later at a secret location in north London to pick Philip up, spending around 20 minutes on the ground before taking off again for Sandringham.

It is believed that Prince Charles and Camilla arrived in a separate helicopter which landed near the estate shortly before Philip's arrival.

Yesterday, Prince Charles revealed Philip was being "looked after very well but that's all we know".

The Prince of Wales made the comments to a reporter as he arrived in Fishlake, South Yorks., To witness the impact of severe flooding that hit the village last month.

HEALTH CONCERNS

Buckingham Palace has tried to downplay the Duke's stay at hospital insisting it is a "precautionary" measure only.

A royal source said: "The Duke had a bad fall and was confined to bed for a couple of days.

"He didn't break anything, but it gave everyone a scare. He suffers from gout which makes him more irritable and he lost his appetite.

"Those around him were worried as he'd stopped eating and didn't want to go out. But he's a 98-year-old man and this is all very common at this age."

Another source said: "The duke doesn't want any fuss. He doesn't want the family coming to see him in hospital.

"He wants to be in and out with minimal disruption to any festive plans and he certainly doesn't want the family to spend time at Christmas traipsing to his sick bed."

Royals have urged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to return to the UK for Christmas as Prince Philip spends 4th night in hospital
Credit: The Mega Agency Royals have urged Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to return to the UK for Christmas as Prince Philip spends 4th night in hospital Credit: The Mega Agency
98-year-old Prince Philip has spent his fourth night in hospital
Credit: Splash News 98-year-old Prince Philip has spent his fourth night in hospital Credit: Splash News

Following Prince Philip's spell in hospital, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been urged to return from holiday for what could be “one last family Christmas”.

Some Royals have said Harry and Meghan should break their six-week long Canadian visit.

One family member told a friend: "Even before the Duke became ill, many were at a loss as to why Harry and Meghan would miss what could be one of the last family Christmases with the Queen and Philip.

"They are absolutely entitled to a proper break and privacy, but they've had six weeks off.

"What about some lovely family photos and memories with baby Archie?

PRINCE PHILIP'S YEAR IN 2019

January 17 2019- The duke is involved in a car crash when the Land Rover Freelander he is driving flips over after being in collision with another vehicle near the Sandringham estate.

January 18- The duke undergoes a medical following the incident.

January 19- Photographs of the duke emerge driving a Land Rover at Sandringham just two days after the crash, in the pictures he was not wearing a seatbelt.

January 24- ITV News unearth archive interview footage of a man, known only as Mr Coopy, with whom the duke was involved in a collision in 1964 in the village of Holyport in Berkshire.

January 27- The duke writes to Emma Fairweather wishing her a "speedy recovery from a very distressing experience" following the crash on January 17.

February 9- Buckingham Palace announces the duke has voluntarily surrendered his driving licence "after careful consideration".

May 7- Prince Philip makes his first public appearance since the car crash when attending the Order of Merit lunch alongside the Queen at Windsor Castle.

May 18- Little more than a week later the duke attends the wedding of Lady Gabriella Windsor in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside other royals including the Queen.

December 20- The duke travels from Norfolk to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition.

"Many of the family were very keen to see him over Christmas, but were told they couldn't as they were abroad.

"There is a feeling they are being inconsiderate and selfish, given the Queen and Philip's advancing age."

The Queen has not changed her schedule and was seen leaving Buckingham Palace for Norfolk by train to begin her traditional festive break at her private Sandringham estate, where she attended a church service yesterday.

Her Majesty was pictured heading to a church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, along with the Countess of Wessex.

Meanwhile, eyebrows were raised when Meghan and Harry's photo was missing from the Queen's Christmas speech table-where she will acknowledge her family's "bumpy" 2019.

As well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Andrew is also absent from the photos on the Queen's desk in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

It comes after the royal family put on a brave face after Philip was rushed to hospital, releasing candid photos showing four generations making a Christmas pudding together.

Prince George, six, was snapped taking the lead to mix the cake, watched on by dad Prince William, grandfather Prince Charles and great-grandmother the Queen.

They stirred the mixture together, a tradition said to bring good luck.

Four generations of royals together at Christmas
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Credit: PA:Press Association Four generations of royals together at Christmas Credit: PA: Press Association
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smile gleefully behind adorable Archie
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Credit: PA:Press Association Prince Harry and Meghan Markle smile gleefully behind adorable Archie Credit: PA: Press Association
Prince Charles was visiting Fishlake today to see the impact of floods on the community
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Credit: Getty Images - Getty Prince Charles was visiting Fishlake today to see the impact of floods on the community Credit: Getty Images-Getty
Police officers stand outside King Edward VII's Hospital, where Britain's Prince Philip was admitted
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Credit: Reuters Police officers stand outside King Edward VII's Hospital, where Britain's Prince Philip was admitted Credit: Reuters
The Queen headed to Sandringham by herself for a carol service on Sunday
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Credit: Rex Features The Queen headed to Sandringham by herself for a carol service on Sunday Credit: Rex Features
Prince Philip joined the royal family in 2017 for the Christmas service
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Credit: Getty - Contributor Prince Philip joined the royal family in 2017 for the Christmas service Credit: Getty-Contributor
Four generations of royals together at Christmas
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Credit: PA:Press Association Four generations of royals together at Christmas Credit: PA: Press Association

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