The goings-on within the British Royal Family are often kept within the walls of Buckingham Palace, which made it somewhat surprising every time a spokesperson for the palace confirmed that Prince Philip was dealing with health issues. Prior to his death on April 9, 2021, Queen Elizabeth's late husband was most recently admitted to a London hospital on Feb. 17, 2021, as a "precautionary measure."
The aging monarch was finally released from his last hospital stay on Mar. 16, 2021. Despite an apparent clean bill of health upon his leave, there were only a few weeks between his hospitalization and death. So, why was Prince Philip hospitalized? Read on for a timeline of the royal's health battles, including his past serious car accident and his other hospitalizations.
Prince Philip spent his last two years hospitalized for various health issues.
Over the span of Philip's life, the changes in his health have been somewhat surprising for the public. Not only did his 2021 hospitalization cause worry, but his stay only a year earlier generated alarm, too. Despite the alarm, the palace claimed in a 2019 statement that his hospitalization on Dec. 20 of that year was nothing out of the ordinary and that it was done to be proactive.
"The Duke of Edinburgh traveled from Norfolk this morning to the King Edward VII Hospital in London for observation and treatment in relation to a pre-existing condition," the statement read at the time. "The admission is a precautionary measure, on the advice of His Royal Highness’ Doctor."
According to multiple reports from that period of illness, Philip was dealing with a serious cold over a span of weeks which, combined with his age, had the potential to become dangerous. He walked to the hospital and was not taken in an ambulance, which was clearly a good sign.
He was expected to stay in the hospital for several days, something that seemingly didn't affect Queen Elizabeth's schedule initially. She traveled to her estate there while Philip was being admitted to the hospital.
Philip officially retired from his royal duties in 2017 and had not been spotted publicly prior to that hospitalization since May of 2019. While Queen Elizabeth's Christmas tradition has always been to attend a service at Sandringham, her husband had not joined her in doing so since 2017.
Though it was made apparent that the Queen's husband's cold was under control after some time being monitored by doctors, this scare was a lot for the royal, who had been dealing with a myriad of other health concerns over the last few years.
The 2019 health scare wasn't his only one, however, as Philip was admitted yet again on Feb. 17, 2021 as a "precautionary measure." The prince was sent to the same hospital at the advisement of his doctor. The culprit this time? His pre-existing heart condition.
Philip was forced to stay hospitalized until he was able to undergo heart surgery. Finally, on Mar. 16, 2021, he was cleared for release after spending the requisite time in recovery. According to multiple sources, he was in "good spirits" and feeling well following the healing period. It is unclear if his heart condition was the reason for his passing or simply old age. Philip was 99 years old at his time of death.
A timeline of Prince Philip's health battles.
Before his December 2019 and February 2021 hospitalizations, Philip's most notable scrape was when he got into a car accident in January of 2019. While driving near the Sandringham estate, Philip flipped his Land Rover, and it landed with the driver's side face up. He hit another car, which had two women and a baby boy inside.
After the crash, Philip surrendered his license. Several months later, it was revealed that he wouldn't be prosecuted for the crash. The people in the other car dealt with minor injuries, while the baby was unharmed.
He also got a hip replacement in April of 2018 to deal with joint pain. He spent 11 days in the hospital after the operation and skipped a public appearance at an Easter service with Queen Elizabeth as a result.
In 2012, while the Queen was celebrating her Diamond Jubilee — for her 60th anniversary of being the queen — he experienced a bladder infection and was admitted to the hospital as well.
Plus, in December of 2011, Philip went to the hospital after having chest pains at the Sandringham estate Christmas celebration. It was discovered that one of his arteries was blocked, and it was operated on immediately. He was released from the hospital just four days later.
While the British Royal Family has been notoriously private in their discussions of Philip's health, well-wishers are glad he is finally at peace. Sources say he died in his sleep surrounded by his loved ones.