The Queen appeared to put on a brave face today as she attended church while Prince Philip prepared to spend a third night in hospital.
The 93-year-old was accompanied by Prince Edward, his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex and their two children.
Philip, 98, was admitted to a private hospital in London on Friday after being flown from Norfolk in a helicopter.
Buckingham Palace will only say it was because of a ‘pre-existing condition’. Royal aides have stressed he was not taken in as an emergency and walked in unaided, but it has prompted fears for his health.
The Mail understands that he has grown increasingly frail in recent months and was extremely poorly a week or so ago with a flu-like virus.
On Friday, a spokesman said he was expected to stay at King Edward VII’s Hospital in Marylebone for a ‘few days’ but it is not clear if he will be discharged in time for Christmas.
Today the Queen smiled and waved to a crowd of around 250 well-wishers as she arrived by car at St Mary Magdalene Church on her 20,000-acre estate at Sandringham, Norfolk, with Edward, Sophie, Lady Louise, 16, and 12-year-old James, Viscount Severn.
A member of the crowd asked Edward, 55, how his father was after he stepped out of the Queen’s Bentley. He failed to respond, although he did smile at well-wishers as he walked into the 16th century church.
The service, led by Sandringham rector the Rev Jonathan Riviere, was kept low-key and, in an unusual move, was not broadcast on loudspeakers outside the church. It is believed that worshippers sang carols and joined in prayers for Philip and others in ill-health.
The Queen – wearing a dark green coat with matching hat and black gloves – emerged after the 50-minute service, chatting to the rector. She briefly waved before getting into the back of her car.
Eleanor Brown-Ahern, 37 of Walsoken, Cambridgeshire, said: ‘We got a wave from her. She definitely looked in good spirits. She looked remarkably well considering what she has got going on at home.
‘She looked stunning as always and the green outfit really suited her. I am always amazed at how mobile she is. She literally jumped out of the car and was upright straight away.’
Mandy Gent, 44, of Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, added: ‘The fact that she waved at people is a good sign about Philip’s health. It shows that she is just carrying on as normal.
‘The whole message we are being sent is that it is business as usual and we should not be too concerned. I just hope he makes it back in time for Christmas Day.’
Sophie, patron of the London College of Fashion, wore deep pink trousers, a cream shawl-neck coat and a wide-brimmed hat with leopard print detailing.
The Palace said Philip was admitted to hospital on Friday for ‘observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition.’ It added: ‘The admission is a precautionary measure on the advice of His Royal Highness’s doctor.’
On Saturday, the Mail revealed that he was driven from Sandringham to RAF Marham around 12 miles away, where he boarded a luxury Sikorsky from the Queen’s Helicopter Flight.
The helicopter landed 120 miles away, in London, 45 minutes later. He was then driven to the hospital. Other members of the Royal Family are expected to join the Queen at the estate over the coming days before going to church on Christmas morning.
But Prince Harry and wife Meghan are staying in Canada over the festive period.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Rebecca English