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Prince Philip admitted to hospital for ‘exploratory operation’

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, arrives in Toronto for a royal visit on April 26, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Queen Elizabeth’s 91-year-old husband Prince Philip has been taken to a London hospital for “an exploratory operation following abdominal investigations,” Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.

The British monarch’s husband is expected to spend two weeks at the London Clinic, the palace statement said. It gave no further details and said further updates would be issued when appropriate.

Philip has needed hospital treatment four times since Christmas 2011, including for a bladder infection during the queen’s Diamond Jubilee a year ago which took some of the gloss off nationwide celebrations for the generally popular monarch.

The longest-serving consort in British history has won admirers for his charity work and steadfast support of his 87-year-old wife, but he is also prone to verbal gaffes that have caused embarrassment over the years.