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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Royal Family attend Christmas Day service at Sandringham as Duke of Edinburgh recovers in hospital from heart operation

-Stunning Duchess of Cambridge joins Royals for Christmas service
-Family join community for mass and pray for Prince Philip's recovery
-Duke is in 'good spirits' but 'eager to leave' hospital to join Royal family
-Tube was placed into his heart to keep artery open and reduce the pain
-Duke was 'likely' to have been suffering from a heart attack, doctor says

By Anna Edwards

Christmas tradition: The Royal Family put on a brave face for the festivities, despite Prince Philip's recent heart scare

The Royal Family have attended Christmas Day service at their private Norfolk estate while the Duke of Edinburgh recovers in hospital.

The Queen and senior Royals will celebrate Christmas Day without Prince Philip as he continues to recover from emergency heart surgery to treat a blocked coronary artery.

The Duke, 90, remains in Papworth Hospital in Cambridge following the procedure to insert a stent into his heart to keep an artery open and relieve his chest pain.

Dressed to impress: At her first Royal Christmas the Duchess of Cambridge looked elegant in a simple maroon outfit by a British designer, while the Queen wore a lavender coat with a glittering diamond and pearl brooch

Festive tradition: Prince Charles led his family to the second service with a smiling Camilla, while Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed close behind

Meeting Catherine at Christmas: The crowds were thrilled to greet the Duchess

The Royal family will visit him at the specialist heart hospital this afternoon after he has spent two nights under doctors' observation.

The Duke missed the private Christmas morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham which has become an annual tradition for the Royal family since the early 1990s.

The Royals returned to the church for a second mass, which is a community service.

During the service, rector of Sandringham the Rev Jonathan Riviere asked the congregation to join him in a prayer for the Duke of Edinburgh's health.

He said: 'We pray for the Queen and the Royal Family, especially today we pray for Prince Philip and his continued recovery.'

Delighting the crowds: Catherine accepts some flowers from a young girl

Festive gift: Her Majesty receives flowers from well-wishers following the Christmas Day church service

Merry Christmas! Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge greets members of the public as she leaves the traditional Christmas Day service at Sandringham

First Christmas as a married couple: Prince William escorted his stunning wife to the church

Family occasion: Prince William and Prince Harry were greeted by well-wishers who joined them in the community service

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said the Duchess of Cambridge was wearing a hat by Jane Corbett.

Her coat was created by an independent British dressmaker, he added, but declined to reveal the designer's identity.

'The Duchess is keen to use independent British dressmakers, whose skills and craftsmanship she admires,' he said.

Corbett, who is based in Hungerford, Berkshire, describes herself as a 'couture milliner and artist' on her website.

She has been creating bespoke hats for more than 15 years and was trained by Rose Cory, the late Queen Mother's milliner.

Corbett designed the pale blue hat that mother Carole Middleton wore to Catherine's wedding in April.

Every piece is hand-crafted to suit each client, their outfit and occasion, her website says.

The Queen wore a dress in lavender Armani wool gabardine and a coat in lavender wool boucle, both by Karl Ludwig.

Her ivory hat with lavender wool boucle detail at the base was created by Angela Kelly.

She wore a diamond shell brooch with a pearl at the centre.

Hundreds of people queued at the gates today to see the Queen and her family, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as well as Zara Phillips and husband Mike Tindall, make the short journey to the royal estate's church.

England rugby player Mike Tindall and the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips, who married in the summer, also attended the service.

The royals traditionally gather at Sandringham for Christmas. Philip normally walks the few hundred yards from the main house to the church and is not thought to have missed a Christmas Day service before.

Well-wishers called out with questions about the Duke, but members of the family did not respond.

The royals traditionally gather at Sandringham for Christmas. Prince Philip normally walks the few hundred yards from the main house to the church and is not thought to have missed a Christmas Day service before.

Well-wishers called out with questions about the Duke, but members of the family did not respond.

The Duchess of Cambridge is spending her first Christmas as part of the Royal Family following her marriage to Prince William, now the Duke of Cambridge, in April.

Smart: Princess Beatrice wore a simple and stylish navy coat and hat for the Christmas service

Festive day: Catherine and Prince William, with Prince Harry, led members of the Royal Family to church on Christmas morning for the private early service

Christmas morning: Members of The Royal family, including Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, arrive at church today for the private mass where they received communion

Family gathering: Catherine, seen here with Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, is spending her first Christmas with the Royals

If Prince Philip makes good progress he could be back among them for the Boxing Day shoot, which he was reportedly supposed to be leading.

Her Majesty visited her stricken husband at Papworth Hospital near Cambridge yesterday morning along with other members of the Royal family.

The Queen was flown to Papworth from Sandringham in the royal helicopter and was then driven to the hospital in a Range Rover.

She was accompanied by the Earl of Wessex, The Princess Royal and the Duke of York as they visited the Duke's bedside.

The Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, were seen arriving by car.

The Duke, 90, was 'in good spirits' and had spent a 'good night' following the coronary stent procedure on Friday, Buckingham Palace said.

But a Palace spokesman said it was not known when the Duke will be discharged from hospital.

'He is being kept in under observation for a short time but we don't have a release date yet,' the spokesman told MailOnline.

Earlier, the Palace said: 'The Queen, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex and the Princess Royal arrived from Sandringham to Papworth by helicopter before 11am and were flown away shortly before midday.

High spirits: Prince Andrew beams on Christmas morning while Princess Anne wraps up warmly for the service

'They were met by Mr Stephen Bridge, chief executive of Papworth, and Professor John Cunningham, physician to the Queen.

'The visit lasted 45 minutes. Prince Philip is in good spirits.

'The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall also arrived by car 45 minutes later.'

Prince Philip was taken to the specialist heart hospital after complaining of chest pains. Following tests, a blocked artery was discovered by doctors.

Family affair: The Queen was seen at the site with her son, the Earl of Wessex Prince Edward

Concern: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, arrive at Papworth by car

Support: The Queen was also accompanied by her daughter, Princess Anne

He underwent an 'invasive procedure of coronary stenting', which was declared a success.

As details of Prince Phillip's health scare emerged, one senior doctor said it 'was likely' the Duke of Edinburgh had suffered a heart attack which was stopped in its tracks by the emergency surgery.

Dr Iqbal Malik, a consultant at Imperial College London, told The Telegraph: 'It seems that he probably was having a heart attack that Papworth have successfully aborted.

'Hopefully he will make a great recovery from this. Despite the fact he is 90 the chance of him getting on with his life is optimised by having that blocked vessel open.'

It is not known when he will be discharged, but medical experts have said that many patients can leave hospital a day after undergoing the procedure, providing there are no complications.

Dr Simon Davies, a cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, said: ‘The pain was from the heart. It means that one or more of the coronary arteries was badly narrowed or perhaps blocked.

‘That meant that the blood was not passing through that artery so the muscle was starving of oxygen and in danger of dying, in other words a heart attack, or was on the verge of one.’

The Duke would normally have been welcoming guests to Sandringham, which is set in 60 acres of gardens, offering the perfect sanctuary for the family's break.

Departure: The Queen prepares to board the royal helicopter with the Princess Royal (second left) and Earl of Wessex (third left)

In flight: Members of the royal family left by helicopter 45 minutes after their visit to Prince Philip

Today the Queen and her family will make the short journey to St Mary Magdalene Church on the royal estate.

Buckingham Palace has said the Christmas service will go ahead as planned and no changes to the family's celebrations are expected.

The royals will wake today to find stockings filled with small gifts and fruit at the foot of their beds, as they usually open their presents on Christmas Eve.

Back at the house after the church service, their festive lunch is served at 1pm and the family enjoys a giant turkey, reared at Sandringham.

One of the highlights of the day is undoubtedly when the royals gather around a television to watch the monarch's traditional Christmas broadcast.

This year, the monarch is expected to talk about the importance of family in the message which was recorded on December 9, two weeks before her husband was taken ill.

The Queen leaves the room and lets her family watches the national address without her.

The festive weekend will also see the Duchess of Cambridge spending her first Christmas as a member of the Royal Family.

Prince Philip, with the Queen, was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure, according to Buckingham Palace

Prince Philip has been taken to Papworth Hospital rather than a local cottage hospital

Concern: Well-wishers gathered at the hospital's gates yesterday to catch a glimpse of Prince Philip's visitors and to show support to the family

It is believed the Queen has been reassured her husband’s health is improving and he is receiving the very best care.

Last night the Duke's wife and children were being kept updated on his condition.

Although it may be viewed by some as uncaring, this is normal procedure within the Royal Family – and the Duke would have it no other way.

When he was in hospital for four days with a chest infection in 2008 he refused to receive any visitors and spent his time catching up on his paperwork.

The Duke’s heart scare will come as a terrible blow to his wife of 64 years, who is due to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee next year with a nationwide tour with her husband by her side.

A source claimed that although the Queen is ostensibly the ‘senior partner’ in their relationship, she relies on her husband ‘utterly’.

‘It may be a clich? but he truly is the power behind the throne,’ said a source. ‘He is her rock.’

Philip is already the longest-serving consort in British history and the oldest serving partner of a reigning monarch.

His duties as consort began on February 6, 1952, when his young wife, then Princess Elizabeth, succeeded her father, George VI.

The Queen and Prince Philip's Golden wedding portrait in 1997, left, and the Duke at a review of the Trooping the Colour

The Queen wearing the Imperial State Crown and the Duke of Edinburgh in uniform of Admiral of the Fleet wave from Buckingham Palace after the Coronation in 1953

Earlier this year the Duke announced plans to scale back on all but his most important duties

In June, in an interview to mark his 90th birthday with the BBC, the outspoken Duke admitted he was reducing his workload before he reached his ‘sell-by date’.

He said: ‘I reckon I’ve done my bit, I want to enjoy myself for a bit now. With less responsibility, less rushing about, less preparation, less trying to think of something to say.’

He is one of the most active members of the Royal family and has only recently started showing signs of slowing down.

The Queen and Prince Philip chose not to attend Royal Variety Performance amid rumours that the Duke was beginning to tire of the annual extravaganza.

It is believed he was not keen on the tiring trip to Salford, the controversial location of a huge new home for the BBC, and the monarch did not want to attend without him.

Next year Prince Philip will accompany the Queen to ten regions of the UK between March and July to mark Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.

The Royals have gathered for their annual Christmas celebration at Sandringham House

Papworth describes itself as the UK's largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital and the country's main heart and lung transplant centre.

It treats more than 22,800 inpatient and day cases and 53,400 outpatients each year.

Its services include cardiology, respiratory medicine, and cardiothoracic surgery and transplantation.

The Duke of Edinburgh with a young Princess Elizabeth, Prince Charles, aged three and one-year-old Princess Anne at Clarence House in 1951

The Queen and Prince Philip with their children, the Princess Royal, Prince Charles, Prince Edward (seated) and Prince Andrew

source: dailymail


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