Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband for more than 60 years, is recovering after undergoing minor surgery to open a blocked artery.
The prince was hospitalized Friday evening after experiencing chest pains, British royal officials said. After some precautionary tests, he had minor surgery to open a blocked artery.
He was transported 60 miles from the Queen’s private country estate in Sandringham, where members of the Royal family have been gathering to celebrate Christmas, to Papworth Hosptital in Cambridge, Britain’s leading heart center, officials said.
The procedure was said to be “minimally invasive” and a stent was put in.
In a statement, Buckingham Palace said the procedure was “successful” and he had a “good night” after the surgery.
Fit for his age, Prince Philip has generally enjoyed good health. Until recently, he took part in the demanding carriage-driving competitions.
The last time he was hospitalized was in 2008 for a chest infection, and even then, Philip, who’s been described as a tough man, didn’t accept any visitors, preferring to catch up with paperwork instead.
This morning, the queen flew in the royal helicopter to visit her husband. She was accompanied by her children, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew, according to the palace.
Prince Charles arrived with the Duchess of Cornall by car 45 minutes later.
As the prince recovers, the royal family is continuing with their Christmas festivities, hosted by the queen. In keeping with tradition, they begin with high tea on Christmas Eve, followed by a formal dinner and then the official opening of gifts. The Queen is said to prefer handmade gifts instead of extravagant ones.
Philip, the duke of Edinburgh, is the longest-serving spouse of a British monarch. The pomp and pageantry of their 1947 wedding was a source of international intrigue and the start of a life of walking a few steps behind his wife in public.
When it comes to the family, however, Philip is very much the equal of his wife. He was instrumental in the decisions the couple made as they raised their four children and played a major role in Prince Charles’ choice of Lady Diana to be his bride.
Rarely missing any royal occasions, the prince has always been by his wife’s side.
“All too often I fear Prince Philip has had to listen to me speaking, but he has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years,” said the Queen.
But as he turned 90 in June, he scaled down his grueling schedule.
“I reckon I’ve done my bit, I want to enjoy myself…I’m just sort of winding down,” the prince said.
This has been a busy year for the prince.
In April, grandson William, heir to the throne, married Kate Middleton, now duchess of Cambridge, and in June he celebrated his 90th birthday.
Next year looks to be just as busy as the royal family prepares for the Queen’s diamond jubilee in June, a celebration of 60 years on the throne that will be sure to have all the extravagance observers have come to expect of the British royals.
ABC News’ Ben Forer and Lama Hasan contributed to this report.