After spending four days in hospital following heart surgery, Prince Philip, husband of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, was released Tuesday morning.

On Christmas Eve, the 90-year-old Duke of Edinburgh suffered chest pains while at the Sandringham estate, the royal family's country retreat 120 miles north of London. He was taken to Papworth Hospital, located 50 miles away, near Cambridge. It was determined he required emergency surgery to insert a coronary stent to relieve a blocked artery.

Philip reportedly walked down from his ward, rather than take an elevator, People.com reported.

Buckingham Palace released a statement Tuesday saying the prince, on his departure, thanked the staff at Papworth for the excellent care he has received during his stay, and that he was very much looking forward to rejoining his family.

He missed the royal family's traditional Christmas events, but received visits from all members of his immediate family. On Christmas Eve, the queen visited with their sons, Edward and Andrew, and daughter, Anne. On Christmas Day, he received visits from his six grandchildren, including Prince William and his younger brother, Prince Harry.

No decisions have been made about his future engagements in what will be a busy year as the queen celebrates her diamond jubilee with a heavy schedule of events across Britain and overseas, a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said.