Duke of Edinburgh ‘exchanged well-wishes’ with women injured in car accident
Philip has undergone a further medical examination and found to have ‘no injuries of concern’.
The Duke of Edinburgh has exchanged “well-wishes” with the two women injured in the dramatic car crash that saw his Land Rover roll across a busy A-road.
Philip contacted the driver and passenger privately following the accident on Thursday, and Buckingham Palace said the duke underwent another medical examination, this time at hospital, as a precaution following doctor’s advice.
The Queen’s consort was found to have “no injuries of concern” after his check-up on Friday morning, he was first examined soon after the accident by a doctor at Sandringham who gave a similar verdict.
The duke was lucky to walk away unscathed following the crash when the Land Rover Freelander he was driving rolled following a collision with a Kia, close to the Queen’s Sandringham estate.
Despite being aged 97 and having had a hip replacement operation last year, Philip appears to have no lasting problems following the crash.
A source said: “The duke’s routine in the coming days will continue as normal.”
Norfolk Police said two women – the 28-year-old Kia driver, who suffered cuts to her knee, and a 45-year-old passenger who broke a wrist – were treated at the local Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn that day and discharged.
There was also a miraculous escape for a nine-month-old baby boy who survived unhurt in the Kia, police said.
A palace spokeswoman said: “On doctor’s advice, the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn this morning for a precautionary check-up.
“This confirmed His Royal Highness had no injuries of concern. The duke has returned to Sandringham.”
She added: “Contact has been made privately with the occupants in the other car and well-wishes exchanged.”
Eyewitness Roy Warne helped the stricken duke out of his car and said the royal, who was left very shocked by the accident, asked if everybody was all right and was overheard telling police he had been “dazzled by the sun”.
The crash happened on Thursday afternoon as Philip’s Freelander pulled out of a side road onto a stretch of the A149 which was earmarked by the local authority for possible safety measures.
At a meeting, coincidentally scheduled for Friday, Norfolk Country Council approved plans to lower the speed limit from 60mph to 50mph, backed by speed cameras.
The duke appeared to be travelling without a police protection officer, individuals who guard all senior members of the Royal Family when at public and private events.
This may raise concerns about security but the duke was being shadowed by another vehicle, thought to contain police officers, just before his crash, Mr Warne has suggested.
Norfolk Constabulary said in a statement: “As is standard procedure with injury collisions, the incident will be investigated and any appropriate action taken.
“We are aware of the public interest in this case, however, as with any other investigation it would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the collision until an investigation is carried out.”
Theresa May has offered her support to the duke following the accident.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister has sent a private message wishing him well.”
Mr Warne, who was one of the first motorists on the scene, told The Sun newspaper he overheard Philip telling police he had been “dazzled by the sun”.
Nick Freeman, the lawyer dubbed Mr Loophole, said the duke could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention if he was deemed to have made a mistake.
But he added: “If the sun was so low and right in your eyes, sometimes it’s impossible to see, and that may well have been the case and that would afford him a defence.”
The duke, who retired from public duties in 2017 but remains active, could also avoid prosecution by surrendering his licence, according to the lawyer known for representing celebrity clients like David Beckham.
Mr Warne, when interviewed by BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, was asked if Philip was trapped, and replied: “Yes, he was. I asked him to move his left leg and that freed his right leg and then I helped him get out.”
He added: “He was obviously shaken, and then he went and asked if everyone else was all right.”
Commenting on the circumstances of the crash, Mr Warne added: “I think there’s no doubt that it was hit (by the duke’s car). That’s my recollection.”
The accident has already prompted some to question whether it is now sensible for the Queen’s consort, who is in his 98th year, to think about giving up driving.
But Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, said: “In the wake of the incident, we have inevitably heard calls for mandatory testing of people of a certain age. This is a red herring – age is a completely arbitrary and unreliable measure for assessing someone’s ability to drive.
“Statistically, older drivers have fewer accidents than other age groups.”
Philip may have plans to continue driving as the Queen’s transport manager, Alex Garty, was seen at Sandringham as a new Freelander was delivered to the royal residence.