Prince Philip is said to be responding well to treatment in the hospital. Photo / Getty Images
The Sydney Morning Herald was forced to quickly remove a pre-prepared obituary for Prince Philip seemingly published by accident on Monday afternoon.
An article titled “Prince Philip Through the Years” appeared in the paper’s obituary section at around 5pm, with it unclear whether a coincidental retrospective article was put in the wrong section of the paper, or it was in fact a very awkward oversight.
The Duke of Edinburgh is very much still alive and, according to family members, “doing OK” as he remains in hospital for “rest and observation”.
On Monday afternoon, an eagle-eyed Twitter user noticed the curious article, which was sold as “The life and times of Britain’s longest-serving royal consort Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in pictures”. It has since been deleted and redirects to a 404 link.
Twitter user “Miss Bailey Woof” shared a screenshot of the article with the caption: “Is there something we don’t know @smh?”
It was posted on the platform at around 9pm but, according to the time stamp on the page, the story was first published at 5pm.
“Someone accidentally pressed the publish button while revising the draft with latest info,” one person speculated in response to the tweet.
“Oops,” simply said another.
One more pointed out that a similar gaffe occurred in November last year when a French radio station accidentally published around 100 pre-written obituaries, including that of Prince Philip’s wife the Queen.
Several hours after the website of Radio France Internationale ran the reports, the radio station apologised and blamed a site upgrade for the blunder.
In a statement, it said it wanted to “apologise first and foremost to those concerned by these obituaries” and who might have been hurt by the premature announcement of the deaths.
The 99-year-old Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital in London on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, after feeling unwell at Windsor Castle.
Buckingham Palace has revealed the duke was being treated for an infection and his son Prince Edward said his father was “a lot better”.
“He is comfortable and responding to treatment but is not expected to leave the hospital for several days,” said the short statement issued on Tuesday.
Prince Edward, Philip and the Queen’s youngest child, told Sky News he had spoken to his father on the phone and the royal family were “keeping their fingers crossed”.
The Earl of Wessex said the 99-year-old was “a lot better thank you very much indeed, and he’s looking forward to getting out, which is the most positive thing. So we keep our fingers crossed.”
Prince William similarly told reporters that his grandfather was “OK”.
“Yes, he’s OK, they’re keeping an eye on him,” the Duke of Cambridge, 38, told journalists.
Philip has now been in the hospital for seven nights since being admitted to the private Marylebone hospital last Tuesday evening after feeling “unwell”.
The palace said he was in “good spirits” and had been taken to hospital as a “precautionary measure”, but on Friday, royal sources indicated that the duke would probably need to remain in the hospital into this week.
The sources said that Philip’s doctor was “acting with an abundance of caution”.
Visitors are banned from the hospital because of strict rules around Covid-19 and it was reported that the royals would only be allowed inside in “exceptional circumstances”.
That’s why fears grew when Prince Charles made the trip from Gloucestershire to visit his father in hospital on Saturday, entering through the rear entrance of the hospital where he was met by security staff.
No other member of the royal family has yet been to see the duke in hospital. The Queen, 94, remains at Windsor, where she and Philip received at least one dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in January.
Buckingham Palace has not given any updates as to whether Her Majesty will visit her husband in hospital in what would be a 41km journey from Windsor.