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Duke of Edinburgh applauded on walk to church

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Media captionA warm reception greets Prince Philip at Sandringham, where he made his first public appearance after receiving heart treatment in hospital

The Duke of Edinburgh has been applauded by spectators as he walked to church for a New Year's Day service.

The 90-year-old was making his first public appearance after spending four nights in hospital over Christmas.

Prince Philip was accompanied by Prince Edward for the 400m-walk on the family's Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

He left hospital in Cambridgeshire on Tuesday, having had a coronary stent fitted in a blocked artery after suffering chest pains on 23 December.

It is the most serious health scare that Philip has suffered.

Hundreds of members of the public watched the arrival of the Royal Family, including the Queen and Countess of Wessex by car, for the service at 11:00 GMT.

"By deciding to walk, he is truly sending a clear message that he is putting the Christmas health scare very much behind him," said BBC News correspondent Mark Worthington, at Sandringham estate.

The Queen gave a reading during the 45-minute service, which was broadcast to the crowd outside.

The duke was the first royal to leave the church and exchanged a few greetings with well-wishers before walking back home alone.

The Queen collected flowers from children after the service, while the Earl and Countess of Wessex chatted to the crowd.

Rest advised

It had not been known whether the duke would attend the Sunday service at St Mary Magdalene church.

His hospital stay meant he missed the Royal Family's Christmas celebrations as well as the traditional Boxing Day shoot.

When he was discharged on 27 December, Buckingham Palace said no decision had been taken on his attendance at the service or how soon he would resume public engagements.

The prince is said to have been advised by doctors to rest.

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell says the prince carried out more than 300 engagements in the last year.

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