2014-04-20 本文已影響 3.16W人 

For the most part, Prince Philip takes bouts of ill-health in his stride. But confronted by the possibility that an untreated hip complaint could prevent him participating in his beloved sport of carriage driving, he has accepted medical advice.


The aim of today’s procedure is, however, twofold. It means, hopefully, he will be fit enough not just to take part in the Royal Windsor Horse show on May 9, but, crucially, to be an active participant at Prince Harry’s wedding ten days later.


Both are key fixtures in Philip’s diary. Indeed, Harry favoured Windsor as his wedding venue because it would be easier for his grandfather to attend.


Although he’s 96 and therefore the prospect of a general anaesthetic cannot be taken lightly, Philip remains supremely fit and remarkably strong for his age.


He still walks quickly with one hand behind his back, as of old. And he still cuts a dapper figure, with tailored suits and well-polished shoes; this helps give the impression of a much younger man.


Someone seeing him for the first time would not believe he’s a nonagenarian. The Queen Mother underwent two hip operation in her nineties. She had a hip replacement at 95 and then, at 97, had surgery after fracturing her left hip. She recovered to continue carrying out public engagements.


The Duke of Edinburgh, of course, has officially retired from royal duties but he still makes a point of showing up at events, often unexpectedly, but to the delight of organisers.


He had hoped to join the Queen for the Maundy service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor last Thursday, and his name was in the order of service. He was also absent from the royals’ traditional Easter Sunday church service. The previous week he pulled out of a ceremony to hand over his role as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards to Prince Andrew.


The fact is that he has endured severe back pain for more than 20 years. It is the reason why, at times, he has appeared irritable in public. But the hip problem has become acute.


A close friend of the duke describes his condition as ‘the bones in his hip grinding together.’


Surgery, says the friend, does not intimidate him. ‘For him, it is a simple choice; if without the procedure it means he cannot continue carriage-driving, then it is worth undergoing an operation. He will only stop when he no longer enjoys it, not because he can’t do it. Above all he wants to remain active.’


When Philip retired from public duties last year, it was not for medical reasons – he simply wanted to enjoy more of his leisure time.


Just a few days after Buckingham Palace announced the decision, he was carriage-driving at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.


He turned 96 last June, and a week later helped the Queen celebrate her official 91st birthday at the annual Trooping the Colour parade. On June 20, he spent the day at Royal Ascot, where temperatures were so hot that the dress code in the Royal Enclosure was relaxed for the first time.


Royal life has always agreed with him and most of his ailments and injuries have been sports-related.



Philip suffers from arthritis in his right wrist, and broke a bone in his ankle playing polo. His arthritic wrist forced him to give up polo in 1971 – when he was 50 – after which he decided to take up carriage-driving.


The duke is also an advocate of healthy eating combined with exercise. He once said he more or less followed the Atkins diet and he drinks only moderately.


He takes the stairs – two at a time - rather than lifts, and still fits into the uniform he wore on his wedding day.


But it is Harry’s wedding day in seven weeks’ time that has recently been on his mind. Says the friend: ‘With convalescence, he hopes to be there.’


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