Queen Elizabeth has bestowed a royal title on Papworth Hospital.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth

The 91-year-old monarch has granted the hospital - which is one of Europe's leading heart and lung hospitals - the royal title, meaning it will officially become Royal Papworth Hospital in 2018.

The hospital, which is near Cambridge, carried out important heart surgery on the Queen's husband Prince Philip in 2011.

Papworth was also the place in which the UK's first successful heart transplant took place in 1979, and world's first successful heart, lung and liver transplant took place there in 1986.

With the name officially changing in 2018, the celebration will coincide with hospital's 100th anniversary, after it was opened as a tuberculosis colony in the small Cambridgeshire village of Papworth Everard in 1918.

Since opening, the hospital has become renowned for its cardiothoracic procedures, treating more than 100,000 patients from across the UK each year.

In 2015 its surgeons were the first in Europe to successfully perform a heart transplant using a non-beating heart, and more than 30 such operations have been carried out since then, increasing its transplant rate by more than one third.

According to BBC News, a spokesman said the title will make Papworth Hospital the first "royal" hospital in the east of England.

He added: "[Papworth is being given the title] in recognition of its pioneering history and continued commitment to developing the treatments of the future."

And Professor John Wallwork, chairman of Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and the surgeon who jointly performed the first heart, lung and liver transplant, told BBC News he was "thrilled to see the hospital get this recognition from the Queen."