February 09, 2019
Buckingham Palace announces Duke of Edinburgh’s ‘voluntary decision’ following collision
Prince Philip gives up driving licence three weeks after car crash
The Duke of Edinburgh has voluntarily surrendered his driving licence just over three weeks after his car overturned following a collision with another vehicle near the Queen’s Sandringham estate.
Two days after the accident Prince Philip, who is 97, was seen behind the wheel of a new car and was given “suitable words of advice” by police when photographed not wearing a seatbelt while on a public road.
A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “After careful consideration the Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving licence.” He did so on Saturday.
Prince Philip was alone when his Land Rover Freelander was involved in a collision with a Kia being driven by Ellie Townsend, 28, as he drove out of a driveway on the estate on to the A149 during the afternoon on January 17.
Emma Fairweather, a passenger in the car, suffered a broken wrist. Ms Townsend’s nine-month-old son, who was in the back, was uninjured. Prince Philip was pulled out of the sunroof of his car after it flipped on to its side. He escaped injury.
In a letter to the two women Prince Philip said he had “failed to see the car coming” and blamed the bright winter sun which was low in the sky. He wished Ms Fairweather a “speedy recovery from a very distressing experience” and said he felt “very contrite about the consequences”.
He also admitted in the letter dated four days after the collision he was left “somewhat shaken” after the accident, “but I was greatly relieved that none of you were seriously injured. As a crowd was beginning to gather, I was advised to return to Sandringham House by a local police officer. I have since learned that you suffered a broken arm. I am deeply sorry about this injury.”
He said he was familiar with the road but was affected by the winter afternoon sunshine. “I have been across that crossing any number of times and I know very well the amount of traffic that uses that main road.
“It was a bright sunny day and at about three in the afternoon, the sun was low over the Wash. In other words, the sun was shining low over the main road. In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming from the Dersingham direction, but I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming.”
The police have a written statement about the circumstances surrounding the accident and officers are considering whether there is enough evidence to charge him with careless driving. Buckingham Palace said last month that Prince Philip was “fully complying with the police investigation”.
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