LONDON - Queen Elizabeth II's 91-year-old husband Prince Philip was discharged from hospital on Monday after spending five nights receiving treatment for a recurrence of a bladder infection.
He shook hands and joked with staff as he left Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in eastern Scotland, following a recurrence of the infection that laid him low during the queen's diamond jubilee celebrations in June.
It was the prince's third health scare in the space of nine months, after he suffered a blocked coronary artery over Christmas that required a surgical procedure to insert a stent.
Philip, whose official title is the Duke of Edinburgh, needed no assistance as he got into the passenger seat of a car and smiled and waved as he left, dressed smartly in a jacket and tie.
Senior staff nurse Denise Webster was among those who shook hands with the royal patriarch.
"The duke was a very good patient, and as he left the hospital he told staff to behave themselves and he said he was going back to enjoy the rest of his holiday," she said.
He did not receive any visitors during his stay in the state-run hospital, having been told to rest up - something that does not come naturally to the prince.
Britain's longest-serving royal consort was taken to the infirmary by ambulance last Wednesday from the queen's private Balmoral estate, about 40 miles (65 kilometres) west of Aberdeen.
The royals traditionally spend their annual summer break at the castle by the River Dee and Prince Philip is returning there to rejoin the rest of his family.
He spent five nights in hospital with a bladder infection in June, forcing him to miss the end of the huge diamond jubilee celebrations marking the queen's 60th year on the throne.
Prince Philip missed the royals' visit to the local village church on Sunday, where prayers were offered wishing him a speedy recovery and quick return to his holidays.
He attended several events during the London 2012 Olympic Games and is expected to join Queen Elizabeth for the Paralympics opening ceremony on August 29.