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Wednesday, January 28, 1998 Published at 20:51 GMT


Prince Charles visits Queen Mother
image: [ Prince Charles visits his grandmother in hospital ]
Prince Charles visits his grandmother in hospital

Prince Charles has paid tribute to the Queen Mother, describing her as "totally indomitable", after he visited her for the first time since her hip operation.

The Prince of Wales was the last of three Royal visitors to the Queen Mother on Wednesday. Earlier, the Duke of York and Princess Margaret had arrived separately at the King Edward VII hospital in Central London, where the 97-year-old patient has been making steady progress since her fall on Sunday.

The Queen Mother has taken her first steps following her hip replacement operation. She fell at the royal Sandringham estate while looking at horses at stables on Sunday. It is thought she will be in hospital for about two weeks.

Prince Andrew says his grandmother is well on the road to recovery (0' 52'')
The Duke of York, her grandson, visited her at the King Edward VII hospital in London at Wednesday lunchtime.

He said: "She is coming to terms with it and is now fully on the road to recovery."

The Duke said the Queen hoped to make a visit on Thursday but would not speculate on when the Queen Mother might leave hospital.

"It's a matter entirely in the hands of the doctors and the matron - and we do what matron says."

He played down reports that the Queen Mother had stumbled over her walking stick, saying: "It was just a straight-forward matter of tripping over some loose asphalt."

Prince Andrew gave an insight into the Queen Mother's reaction to her accident: "She is annoyed more than anything that this has happened."

He was followed late on Wednesday afternoon by Princess Margaret, and an hour later by Prince Charles.

The Prince of Wales said his grandmother was making good progress: "She is feeling very much better ... She has been taking several steps. She is absolutely determined to get home very soon."

The great-grandmother is believed to be in good spirits as messages and flowers from well-wishers flood in.

The operation is her second hip replacement in two years.

Princess Margaret and the Princess Royal visited on Tuesday, each spending 20 minutes with the Queen Mother.

However the Queen Mother's spirits will have been lifted by news from Lingfield Park racecourse, one of her horses, Kings Rhapsody, won the Weatherbys 'Stars of Tomorrow' Open National Flat Hunt race, while another, Close Harmony, was runner-up in the Ramparts 'National Hunt' Novices Hurdle.

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