Why Prince Philip was left out of Queen's Commonwealth Address - royal correspondent

Prince Philip was absent from Queen Elizabeth's Commonwealth Address - but a royal expert says it's to be expected.

On Monday the Queen delivered her pre-recorded 2021 Commonwealth Address, hailing "friendship and unity" in a year like no other. 

Her speech commended the "selfless dedication to duty" seen across the Commonwealth, particularly on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

She also mentioned how the pandemic has brought people closer, saying: "The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others."

However, there was no mention of her husband, Prince Philip, who has been hospitalised for more than two weeks. 

Royal commentator Richard Fitzsimmons told The AM Show the Duke of Edinburgh is recovering from a procedure linked to a pre-existing heart condition.

"We wish him well - I think there's no question the Duke is in everyone's thoughts."

Fitzsimmons says the Prince likely went unmentioned in the Queen's Commonwealth Address due to the royal family's "never complain, never explain" manner of dealing with family issues.

"The Duke I'm sure is recovering, as we understand he is a most impatient patient, vying to get out of a prolonged stay in hospital."

Prince Philip has spent 17 nights in hospital - his longest ever stay. He was initially admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital on 16 February before being transferred to St Bartholomew's.

His hospitalisation comes amid growing tensions in the Royal Family as a bombshell interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is set to air on Tuesday (NZ time).

In a trailer for the interview, conducted by Oprah, Megan Markle says she could not be expected to stay silent if "the firm" continues to "perpetuate falsehoods" about her and her husband Harry. 

The Sussexes have faced calls for the broadcast to be postponed out of respect for Philip.