Prince Philip has been admitted to hospital with an infection, Buckingham Palace has said. The 96-year-old royal was due to attend the State Opening of Parliament with his wife the Queen on Wednesday morning, but instead Her Majesty will be accompanied by her son Prince Charles.
The statement read: "The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London last night, as a precautionary measure, for treatment of an infection arising from a pre-existing condition. Prince Philip is in good spirits and is disappointed to be missing the State Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot. The Prince of Wales will accompany The Queen to the State Opening. Her Majesty is being kept informed and will attend Royal Ascot as planned this afternoon."
Later this morning, the Queen and Prince Charles will attend a 'dressed-down' State Opening of Parliament, marking the first time in 43 years that she will not wear the glittering Imperial State Crown and the Robe of State. In a break with tradition, Her Majesty will opt for a hat and a day dress. She and Prince Charles will also travel to the Houses of Parliament in a car, rather than the majestic Diamond Jubilee State Coach.
Palace officials have said the temporary changes for this year are simply down to timing. Trooping the Colour took place on Saturday 17 June, and with only a few days until the next major royal event, the State Opening, there was little time to rehearse. Back in April, Buckingham Palace acknowledged the tricky logistics, saying that the State Opening would take place with "reduced ceremonial elements". Officials insisted that the changes had nothing to do with the Queen's age but rather lack of time to rehearse properly.
In May, it was announced that Prince Philip would be standing down from official duty in the autumn. Buckingham Palace released a statement which read: "His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh has decided that he will no longer carry out public engagements from the autumn of this year. In taking this decision, The Duke has the full support of the Queen. Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen. Thereafter, The Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time."