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EDITIONS
 Monday, 23 December, 2002, 14:47 GMT
Duke jokes about 'injuries'
St Mary's Church, Sandringham
The Queen and Prince Philip drive to St Mary's Church
The Duke of Edinburgh looked in good health at a sporting event, after Buckingham Palace dismissed reports he had hit his head.

There were concerns about Philip's health after he was pictured in photographs with an apparent small wound on his scalp.

Prince Philip at Sandringham church
The duke is fine

Buckingham Palace

But on Monday there were no signs of any visible injury on the 81-year-old's face as he walked around a shooting club at Sandringham in Norfolk.

He asked reporters, "Do I look ill?" and added: "So you've been believing the papers, have you?"

The duke was attending a clay pigeon shooting competition to present awards.

Shooting school manager Graham Browne said: "He was absolutely fine. Nothing wrong with him whatever, he was in good form."

His uncharacteristic decision to be driven to church on Sunday rather than walk had fuelled speculation in some quarters about his health.

Christmas celebrations

Earlier on Monday the palace issued a statement to say the 81-year-old was in good health at the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

A spokeswoman said: "The duke is fine."

The duke is with the Queen at Sandringham for Christmas and New Year.

On Sunday, the Royal family broke with tradition by arriving at St Mary's Church on the estate via a back entrance.

Normally members of the public are allowed to walk down a path to watch the Queen and other royals arrive at the front entrance to the church.

But on Sunday the wrought iron gates at the beginning of the path remained locked and a gathering of around 50 visitors had to stand on the side of the road to watch the Queen and the duke drive past in their Rolls-Royce.

Queen leaving Church at Sandringham
Queen receives flowers from wellwishers
No other members of the Royal Family were at the service.

"In all the years I have been coming down here I have never known them go in the back like that," said Mary Relph, 68, of Shouldham, Norfolk.

As the royal car left the church the Queen saw how many people were carrying bouquets and ordered her driver to stop and invited well-wishers to hand the bouquets through the open window.

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25 May 01 | UK
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