Nestled in an inconspicuous street in Marylebone, there is a hospital. From the outside, the building exudes subtle grandeur — but not enough to turn heads.
This is no ordinary hospital, though. It is King Edward VII’s Hospital, which describes itself as “London’s foremost private hospital.”
For many years, King Edward VII’s has played nurse to a very special group of patients: The royal family.
It is where the Queen had knee surgery, Prince Charles had a hernia removed, and where Kate Middleton was treated for morning sickness. Princess Margaret also died in this building.
Clearly, the hospital occupies a special place in the hearts of Britain’s monarchy, but why?
Comprised of just 56 beds and boasting more than four nurses to every patient, King Edward VII’s promises “dedicated, individual attention.” Scroll on to take a tour of the hospital that gets the royal seal of approval.
The hospital was established in 1899 to treat injured soldiers fighting in the Second Boer War. Over a century later, it is still open to British Army personnel who receive a 20% discount on treatments or can apply for grants to cover the entire cost.
The reception is fittingly smart. Stained glass windows and an open fireplace provide the backdrop, while a receptionist outfitted in a waistcoat and tie admits patients and visitors.
Just down the corridor from reception is the well-stocked library, which would look more fitting in a private members' club than a hospital.
In 1963, the library was the location of Prime Minister Harold MacMillan's resignation to Queen Elizabeth II.
Let's first descend into the hospital's basement, to the physiotherapy and hydrotherapy areas. The physiotherapy centre offers pilates, acupuncture, sports massages, and much more.
Not many hospitals have swimming pools. King Edward VII's purpose-built hydrotherapy pool is one of the few in London -- it's heated to a snug 34 degrees celsius.
Back upstairs, here is a typical ward room at King Edward VII's. The hospital boasts a nurse to patient ratio of 1:4.5, so patients receive 'dedicated, individual attention.'
Many of the rooms feel fairly standard, though. This waiting room has the bland, cramped style of many NHS hospitals.
Perhaps one of King Edward VII's greatest advantages is the restaurant-quality food it serves. The menu on this bedside table might include sustainable and ethically caught fish, sourced in Devon and Cornwall, as well as Argyle smoked salmon, shellfish, and luxury prawns from the west of Scotland, according to the brochure.
Guests are even served afternoon tea at 3.15 p.m. in the afternoon and a nighttime drink at 8.15 p.m.
Naturally, this luxury doesn't come cheap, and the hospital reaps the rewards of treating high-profile clients. According to the Financial Times, the hospital receives a revenue of £347,000 per bed, every year. Across the hospital's 56 beds, that's an overall income of nearly £19.5 million a year -- not including the four-bed critical care unit.
In 2012, King Edward VII's Hospital made headlines for a prank phone call that turned tragic. Australian radio DJs called the hospital and, by imitating Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, were able to obtain confidential information regarding the Duchess of Cambridge's treatment, who was suffering from acute morning sickness at the time.
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