Queen Elizabeth's 91-year-old husband Prince Philip has been taken to a London hospital for "an exploratory operation following abdominal investigations", Buckingham Palace said on Thursday.

Prince Philip is expected to spend two weeks at the London Clinic, the palace statement said. It gave no further details and said further updates would be issued when appropriate.

Philip has needed hospital treatment four times now since Christmas 2011, including for a bladder infection during the queen's Diamond Jubilee a year ago which took some of the gloss off nationwide celebrations.

The longest-serving consort in British history has won admirers for his charity work and steadfast support of his 87-year-old wife, but he is also prone to verbal gaffes that have caused embarrassment over the years.

Presented by Adam Justice