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Monday, 15 January, 2001, 17:50 GMT
Charles visits Princess Margaret
Prince Charles leaving the King Edward VII hospital
Prince is first senior royal to visit Margaret
Prince Charles visited Princess Margaret in hospital on Monday afternoon and said she was "coming on very well".

The prince spent 30 minutes at his aunt's bedside in the King Edward VII Hospital, in London, where she was taken last Wednesday after suffering a severe loss of appetite, possibly triggered by a second stroke.

The prince, himself nursing a fractured shoulder bone following a recent accident, arrived with his arm in a sling.

Asked how Margaret was, he said: "She is coming on very well - she's much better."

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret's public role is in doubt

Since being admitted to hospital, Princess Margaret has made an "enormous" improvement and is eating small meals.

Prince Charles is the most senior member of the Royal Family to visit her during her stay at the private hospital.

Her daughter Lady Sarah Chatto and her two children - four-year-old Samuel and Arthur aged nearly two - visited the princess on Sunday night but made no comment on her condition.

Buckingham Palace said doctors do not regard her condition as critical though it is not yet known how long she will remain in hospital.

The princess had been planning to visit her lady-in-waiting Lady Glenconner at her home in St Lucia in February.

"But she would have to get much better before that," said Lady Glenconner.

Commemorative stamp

Meanwhile, a call has been made for the princess to feature on a British stamp.

Peter Jennings, a fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society said: "Royal Mail appear to have overlooked the princess. It's sad she has never appeared on a stamp in Britain."

Bermuda stamp featuring Princess Margaret
No plans for a Princess Margaret stamp in UK

She has been pictured on a stamp which was issued in Bermuda to commemorate her 70th birthday.

He has suggested that a stamp could be issued to mark the Queen's 75th birthday in April showing the Queen with her mother and sister.

The Royal Mail said it had no such plans.

Specialist care

Princess Margaret's recent ill-health began shortly before Christmas while she was staying at Sandringham, Norfolk.

Doctors at Sandringham were so concerned by her loss of appetite they recommended the princess be taken to hospital for specialist care.

She had been due to attend the 50th anniversary gala performance by the English National Ballet at the London Coliseum on Tuesday.

But all her engagements have been cancelled and her place will be taken by the Duke of York.

History of ill-health

Princess Margaret, who lives at Kensington Palace, has been ill for some time.

Three years ago she suffered a mild stroke while holidaying on the Caribbean island of Mustique and was flown back to Britain for treatment at the King Edward VII hospital.

In March 1999, again while in Mustique, the princess was left seriously debilitated after being scalded on her legs and feet in the bath.

Our royal correspondent says it is now uncertain whether the princess would ever again have a public role.

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