The Prince of Wales made a 100-mile trip to visit the Duke of Edinburgh in hospital, and spend a half an hour at his bedside.
Prince Charles arrived at the hospital on Saturday afternoon, leaving shortly before 4pm. Observers described him as looking sombre as he climbed into his car.
It is understood The Prince returned to Clarence House following his visit before later travelling to Highgrove.
However, royal sources stressed the Duke, who has been in King Edward VII’s Hospital in London since Tuesday, remained in “good spirit”.
The Prince’s decision to travel from his Highgrove Estate to London had earlier raised concerns about the Duke’s condition, as it appeared to contravene the hospital’s strict visiting rules that have been in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The rules stipulate visits would be allowed only if patients have extra caring needs, or if they are receiving end of life care. But they also state that visits from one person will also be considered “in exceptional circumstances”.
A source close to the heir to the throne said: “The Duke has been in hospital a few days longer than expected and the Prince simply wanted to go and see him.”
A Buckingham Palace source insisted the Duke’s condition had not changed, and that the doctors were simply acting with “an abundance of caution” by keeping him in.