It is the first time the Duke of Edinburgh has been seen since returning from the hospital shortly before Christmas

By Stephanie Petit
January 13, 2020 03:26 PM

As a historic meeting happened inside the walls of Sandringham, Prince Philip headed out.

Queen Elizabeth‘s husband, who retired from royal duties in 2017 after 64 years of royal service, was seen being driven out of the grounds of the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on Monday morning ahead of the family’s meeting regarding Meghan Markle and Prince Harry‘s shocking decision to step down from their senior roles. Prince Philip, dressed in a green jacket, rode in the passenger seat as a female driver took the wheel.

It is the first time the Duke of Edinburgh has been seen since returning from the hospital to the royal residence shortly before Christmas. The royal, 98, was hospitalized to undergo precautionary treatment for a pre-existing condition.

Queen Elizabeth, 93, ordered Harry, his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles to come together in a high-level meeting to “talk things through,” a source told PEOPLE.

Credit: Terry Harris/Bav Media /
Prince Philip
| Credit: Terry Harris/Bav Media /

Charles traveled back from Oman to attend the summit. He arrived at the Middle Eastern country on Sunday morning to attend the “first of three days of official condolences” following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.

The source recently told PEOPLE it is likely Meghan will participate in the discussion on Monday via phone, as she recently returned to Vancouver Island, Canada, where she and Harry spent the holidays together with their son Archie.

The unprecedented family summit follows a series of emergency discussions across the last few days and raises the prospect that a solution is in sight that will work for the Sussexes and the royal family.

“There is a range of possibilities for the family to review which take into account the thinking the Sussexes outlined earlier in the week,” the source said.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

“As we have said previously, making a change to the working life and role of the monarchy for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex requires complex and thoughtful discussions. Next steps will be agreed at the meeting,” the source shared. “The request for this to be resolved ‘at pace’ is still Her Majesty’s wish. The aim remains days not weeks. There is genuine agreement and understanding that any decision will take time to be implemented.”

Kate Middleton
| Credit: Ben Cawthra/Sipa via AP

Kate Middleton, who celebrated her 38th birthday last week, was spotted leaving her Kensington Palace home on Monday as husband Prince William attended the important family meeting. Kate looked serious behind the wheel on the rainy day, sporting a dark turtleneck under a tan coat while her hair was tied back, highlighting a pair of dangling earrings.

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The meeting will be the first time the Queen, Harry, William and Charles have all been together since Remembrance Day weekend.