To mere commoners it might seem odd. With her husband Prince Philip about to get under the surgeon’s knife, the queen was making an official visit just 1,000 yards from his hospital bed. Yet she did not stop by to see the man who has been at her side – and a few paces back – for 66 years.
Queen Elizabeth was attending the official opening the BBC’s glittering new $1.5 billion broadcast center in the heart of London. Asked by a BBC radio host about her husband’s health, she clearly had no interest in talking about it.
“I have no idea, he has only just gone in,” she replied.
Despite his declining health and his recent pledge to cut back on his public engagements, the 91-year-old prince made seven public appearances in the last week, attending two dinners and a service at Westminster Abbey to mark the 60th anniversary of his wife’s reign.
Apparently not wanting to miss a moment, he attended the Buckingham Palace spring garden party on Thursday – 8,000 people were invited – where he reportedly was in good spirits, joking with guests.
Shortly after the party he changed out of his morning suit and was driven to The Clinic, a private hospital in central London. He is to undergo exploratory abdominal surgery and he is expected to spend the next two weeks in the hospital. He turns 92 on Monday.
The prince had abdominal tests last week and knew had been warned he would need the exploratory surgery.
According to London’s Daily Mail a royal source said: “He has been feeling under the weather in recent days, but that is because he had lost his voice. The two are quite unconnected. He was admitted to hospital by arrangement and left quite calmly – and without any panic – after today’s garden party, where he was on top form.”
A year ago the prince was admitted to the hospital with a bladder infection during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
With her husband just five blocks away, the queen was touring the Broadcast House. She remembered visiting the BBC headquarters as a young girl in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II.
Despite the bombing of London by the Nazis during the war, the royals never left England, reaffirming that British reputation for a stiff spine and a stiff upper lip. Apparently it still holds.