Prince Philip rejoins Queen at Sandringham after being discharged from hospital

The Duke of Edinburgh smiled and waved as he left Papworth Hospital today after his heart scare. He has now rejoined the Queen and other members of the Royal Family at Sandringham.

The 90-year-old royal was sitting in the front passenger seat of a dark Range Rover as he was driven away, five days after he was admitted.

'His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh was discharged from Papworth Hospital this morning,' a statement from Buckingham palace said. 'He is returning to Sandringham by car.

'On departure, Prince Philip thanked the staff at Papworth for the excellent care he has received during his stay.

'He is very much looking forward to rejoining his family.'

TV crews had pitched up along vantage points on the road to Sandringham, including Knights Hill roundabout, near King's Lynn.

The 90-year-old royal was sitting in the front passenger seat of a dark Range Rover as he began the hour-long journey to Sandringham at 9.25am.

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The Duke smiled and waved as he left Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire. Two other Range Rovers carrying royal protection officers followed him.

Scores of police officers began combing the hospital's grounds in the early hours of this morning in preparation for the Duke's departure.

It is not yet clear how active the Duke will when he arrives at Sandringham. He normally leads shooting parties on the estate over the Christmas holidays, but it is not known whether he will be well enough to take part on his return.

He would normally be expected to accompany the Queen to Sunday service, at one of the churches on the Royal estate.

He missed the Christmas Day service at Sandringham, which was attended by the Duchess of Cambridge for the first time.

He was flown to Papworth Hospital, near Cambridge, on Friday night after complaining of chest pains.

Doctors found a blocked artery and operated to clear it using a procedure known as stenting.

The Duke was visited in hospital by his grandchildren the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry on Christmas Day.

The brothers drove separate cars to Papworth after enjoying lunch at Sandringham, the Queen's private Norfolk estate, taking the Duke of York's daughters Beatrice and Eugenie and the Princess Royal's children Zara and Peter with them for a 45-minute visit.

Their visit would have been a welcome distraction for the Duke who is thought to have missed his first Christmas morning service at Sandringham, an annual tradition for the Royal Family since 1988.

His next formal engagement is a dinner at the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge on January 17.

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