Prince Philip's 92nd birthday in hospital

The 41-gun salute happens, regardless -- tradition is tradition

Four days after undergoing exploratory surgery, Prince Philip probably wasn’t in the mood to celebrate his 92nd birthday today. Still, traditions have to be maintained, so the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery blasted away a 41-gun salute in Green Park, adjacent to Buckingham Palace while other salutes sounded around Britain. Today, he finally got a family visit when his youngest son, Edward, paid a visit to the London Clinic. “Well, thank you,” is all he’d say about his father’s condition when he left a short time later. The palace briefing revealed little new about his condition or even what the surgery, necessitated because of something discovered on a regular check-up, was for. “As far as his condition goes, nothing has changed at all, he is still comfortable and he is still recovering from his operation,” the Telegraph reported.

The Queen dropped in on her husband after spending her usual weekend at Windsor Castle. The paucity of bedside handholding isn’t unexpected. Philip is known to loath any fuss made over his illness. And he and the Queen come from a generation in which duty is paramount. As the palace explained to the Telegraph, “The golden rule where the Queen is concerned is that she doesn’t want to disrupt the work of the hospital at all, so she will be guided by the doctors looking after the duke. It all depends on the hospital and it depends on whether he is up to it.”

He’s expected to stay in hospital for at least two weeks, then take another two months to recover. So, for what is believed to be the first time ever, he’ll miss Saturday’s grand Trooping the Colour military parade in London. And the enforced rest is bound to grate on the still-energetic duke of Edinburgh. He’s used to a hectic schedule. After all, the man who said on his 90th birthday that he’d been slowing down, clocked up 325 engagements last year. And last month, he flew into Toronto for 24 hours to get the Order of Canada from Governor General David Johnston and then, sporting a spectacular black eye (also unexplained), he presented new Colours to the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment in an outdoor ceremony at Queen’s Park.

Maybe a summer off is just want he needs to truly slow down.