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Prince Philip has surgery for blocked artery

December 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Queen Elizabeth II's husband Prince Philip underwent surgery Friday for a blocked coronary artery.

Just as the royal family was gathering to celebrate Christmas, the prince was taken to the United Kingdon's top hospital for cardiology.

According to a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace, the Duke of Edinburgh was treated for a blocked coronary artery and a successful "invasive procedure of coronary stenting" was performed.

The prince will remain in the hospital for a short time for observation.

The 90-year-old was taken from Sandringham, the queen's sprawling estate in rural Norfolk, to the cardiac unit at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge after experiencing chest pains.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said the prince is undergoing "precautionary tests."

Sources close to the royals say the Duke of Edinburgh is in pretty good health considering his age. However, the prince has had chest pains before and was taken to the hospital for a chest infection in April 2008.

He came down with a cold in October and had to cancel an overnight visit to Italy in order to recover.

That illness came shortly after Prince Philip accompanied the queen on a busy 11-day official royal tour of Australia.

The colorful and outspoken husband of Queen Elizabeth has been a familiar figure at his wife's side for decades. He has championed numerous charities over the years.

The queen and Prince Philip have had a busy year as they prepared for the spectacular wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

They have another busy year ahead of them with events to mark the queen's 60th year on the throne.

It remains unclear if Prince Philip's health will alter the royal family's plans for the Christmas weekend which typically include a public appearance before church services and then a private family lunch.

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