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'Is everyone else alright?' 'Very brave' but 'shaken' Prince Philip, 97, 'went to check on mother and her baby' after he was pulled through roof of Land Rover having been 'dazzled by sun' before crash with Kia

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 17/01/2019 Rod Ardehali and Rory Tingle and Martin Robinson, Chief Reporter For Mailonline

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Watch: Man who helped pull Duke of Edinburgh from his car says it was an astonishnig escape (ITN)

The Duke of Edinburgh 'said nothing rude' and refused to make a 'big fuss' after his crash before walking towards the other victims to ask: 'Is everyone else alright?', the driver who pulled him from the wreckage of his Land Rover revealed today.

Barrister Roy Warne said Prince Philip, 97, told police he had been 'dazzled by the sun' at a T-junction before the collision near the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk at 2.45pm yesterday.

The 75-year-old, who was driving home with his wife Victoria, 72, was first on the scene of the accident and helped free the 'conscious' but 'very shaken and shocked' royal through the 4x4's sunroof as it lay on its side.

© Getty The Duke had been shouting: 'My legs! Where should I put my legs?' as he was dragged from his armoured 4x4 after crashing with a Kia carrying a ten-month-old baby, its mother and another woman.

a person riding on the back of a truck © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mr Warne said: 'He [Philip] wasn’t rude. He was very shaken and he went and asked: "Is everyone else alright?". He's a very brave man. He didn't make a big fuss about it'. 

a black truck sitting on top of a car: Prince Philip is 'conscious but very shocked and shaken' after crashing his Land Rover in a dramatic car crash near the Sandringham estate. The Queen is by the Duke's side following the collision which happened just after 3pm when he was pulling out of a driveway onto the A149 in Babingley, Norfolk which leads to Sandringham. Images have emerged showing the black Land Rover with severe damage to its left side © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Prince Philip is 'conscious but very shocked and shaken' after crashing his Land Rover in a dramatic car crash near the Sandringham estate. The Queen is by the Duke's side following the collision which happened just after 3pm when he was pulling out of a driveway onto the A149 in Babingley, Norfolk which leads to Sandringham. Images have emerged showing the black Land Rover with severe damage to its left side He added: 'I saw the Duke's car careering, tumbling across the road - it ended up on the other side, having rolled right over. It was an astonishing escape for everyone. People could have been killed. The impact was enormous'.

a car parked on the side of a fence: Images have emerged of a black Land Rover having rolled on its side following the crash with a people carrier. Police and ambulance rushed to the scene where two people, neither understood to be the prince, were treated for minor injuries  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Images have emerged of a black Land Rover having rolled on its side following the crash with a people carrier. Police and ambulance rushed to the scene where two people, neither understood to be the prince, were treated for minor injuries  The incident raises major security questions after Mr Warne revealed there was no royal protection officer in the car with Prince Philip, who needed members of the public to drag him from the overturned car.

a close up of text on a black background © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mr Warne, who was travelling back from hospital with his wife after she was given the all clear from breast cancer, said he wasn't sure where the Duke's security detail had been but added 'a lot of people arrived very quickly'. 

a flock of birds sitting on top of a parking lot: Shattered car parts and windscreen glass at the scene near to the Sandringham Estate today where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road accident while driving  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Shattered car parts and windscreen glass at the scene near to the Sandringham Estate today where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road accident while driving 

Philip is believed to have pulled out of a side-road, coming from Sandringham House, on to the busy A149 where the Kia, travelling at up to 60mph, struck his side of the 4X4 in a so-called 't-bone' smash.

a car driving down a street: Pictures taken by a passing driver show the Land Rover Freelander 2 on its side as an ambulance races to the scene © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Pictures taken by a passing driver show the Land Rover Freelander 2 on its side as an ambulance races to the scene The Land Rover was flipped on to the passenger side, and then slid across the carriageway before 'somersaulting' back on to the driver's side and coming to a halt on a grass verge.

a car parked on the side of a road: Paramedics and police parked at the scene while the Prince's Land Rover remains on its side following the crash © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Paramedics and police parked at the scene while the Prince's Land Rover remains on its side following the crash Philip was pulled out of the sunroof by driver Mr Warne, who had stopped at the scene, and the Duke was breathalysed by police, which came back negative, and rushed back to Sandringham where he is recovering with the Queen by his side. He will be monitored by doctors for 48 hours for signs of concussion or internal injuries.

Related: Prince Philip crash road facing speed cut after deaths

The Duke of Edinburgh was clearly dazed after the crash but was uninjured, but two women inside the Kia were treated in hospital, one for a suspected broken arm, the other for an injured knee. The ten-month-old baby was unharmed.

Describing the chaotic aftermath Mr Warne told The Sun: 'I looked down and had the Prince's blood on my hands. All I could think is, thank goodness there wasn't more. I rushed to the other car - there was smoke coming out as if it may explode. There was a baby in the back seat screaming.'  

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wearing a suit and tie: Prince Philip has been involved in a car crash close to the Sandringham Estate, but is unhurt, says Buckingham Palace © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Prince Philip has been involved in a car crash close to the Sandringham Estate, but is unhurt, says Buckingham Palace Mr Warne said the duke’s car ‘came across the A149 like a somersault’.

‘It was turning on its side, over and over. It was frightening to see a powerful car rolling like that. I rushed to the other car – there was smoke coming out as if it may explode. There was a baby in the back seat screaming.

‘Once myself and another chap had managed to pull the baby out, I went to the overturned car. There was one elderly person inside and I tugged at the smashed windscreen and sunroof to try to get the driver out. He was lying on his side and his legs were down in the well of the car. I asked him to lift his left leg as his legs were trapped, and he said, “Where to?”

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‘I suddenly realised it was Prince Philip. As he lifted his left leg, there was room for his right leg to move.

‘I reached into the car, put my hands under his armpits and gently eased him out. He stood up and was unharmed but was obviously very shocked.

‘He was disorientated and humbled. I believe he was very sorry about what had happened.

‘The sun was very low in the sky. Considering his age, he got off much better than the people in the other car.’

a man standing next to a car: The Land Rover Freelander 2 that Prince Philip was driving today is pictured here taken in May, 2018 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Land Rover Freelander 2 that Prince Philip was driving today is pictured here taken in May, 2018 Images emerged of a black Land Rover Freelander 2 – which has a five star NCAP safety rating - having rolled on its side following the crash, where it was 't-boned' by a blue Kia.

At least five police cars and two ambulances went to the scene.

The Duke was seen by a doctor at his medical facilities on the Sandringham Estate as a precaution but was given the all clear. 

However, he will be closely monitored for 48 hours to ensure he has no internal injuries, according to reports. 

Mr Warne's account suggests there was no royal protection officer who with him, although some reports suggests there was one in the car, who was also uninjured. 

a close up of text on a black background © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Duke of Edinburgh and the female driver were breathalysed and both gave negative readings. The crash happened on a stretch of the single carriageway road which has a 60mph limit and is a notorious accident spot. 

Philip's Land Rover was heading on to the A149 out of a private estate road leading from Sandringham House when he was 'dazzled by winter sunshine' and struck by the Kia, which was going south.

The impact on Philip's driver's side slipped the car on to the passenger's side before is spun over and slid across the single carriageway.

After reaching the far edge, it then flipped again 180 degrees onto the driver's side before coming to a halt.

Mr Warne and other drivers quickly ran to help and were joined by emergency service personnel who helped pull the Duke through the sunroof.

A villager who asked not to be named said: 'It is an extremely busy road and it is a miracle that he was not hit by another car as well.

'It could easily have been curtains for him, especially at his age. I guess he survived because he was in a solid Land Rover.' 

a close up of a mans face: Nick Cobb told BBC News: ‘A couple of cars coming towards us flashed their headlights. The first vehicle we saw was a Sandringham Estate Discovery police car, which is a plain car but with blue flashing lights. ‘There was quite a bit of debris on the road so we had to go into the middle of the road and go past slowly' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Nick Cobb told BBC News: ‘A couple of cars coming towards us flashed their headlights. The first vehicle we saw was a Sandringham Estate Discovery police car, which is a plain car but with blue flashing lights. ‘There was quite a bit of debris on the road so we had to go into the middle of the road and go past slowly'

One man who asked not to be named told The Telegraph: 'The Duke looked distraught. He looked quite shocked and shaken. It was extraordinary to see the Duke of Edinburgh. 

'He looked at me as I approached the junction. Police were already on the scene, helping him. There's a police station not far away.'

Local driver Natalie Courtney Ely said she had experienced visibility issues on the same stretch of road in the past. 'I drove past about 10 minutes after it happened,' she wrote on Facebook. 'I'm surprised he wasn't hurt. 

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He must have nine lives, admirers joke 

Once it was confirmed that the Duke of Edinburgh was alive and well, it didn't take long for admirers to crack jokes on social media.

Highlights from Twitter include Danny Murphy, who remarked: 'Prince Philip can't be killed!'

Kevin Anthony Carney shared similar suspicions, joking: 'When the world ends, all that will be left are cockroaches and Prince Philip.'

Matt Hopkins spoke for many when he said: 'Every time I see his name trending on Twitter, I expect the worst. Some say cats have nine lives. Prince Philip must have many, many more.' Nearby resident John Doyle said: 'I drive along that road often – I'll wait until he's back in London before I do it again. Has he lost his bus pass?'

Others praised the duke for taking our minds off the political turmoil.

Ally Simpson quipped: 'Do you think maybe Prince Philip had enough of all the Brexit talk and rolled his Range Rover on purpose?'

Meanwhile, John Street suggested Prince Philip was in a rush, asking: 'Was it an escape attempt?'

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'On that stretch of road the sunlight was causing major visibility issues for me so I'm sure it was for other drivers too - maybe they should consider that due to this the poor visibility was more of the cause of the collision rather than speed.'  

Broken glass and pieces of black bumper and blue trim from Philip's car was left piled up at the side of the road tonight.

A turning off the A149 to the east leads to the village of West Newton, and a private estate road to the west leads past St Felix Chapel, a British Orthodox church. 

Astonishingly, the site is just 30 miles from where the Duke was involved in another crash 23 years ago, which wrote off a Mercedes and injured another motorist.   

Witness Nick Cobb arrived at the scene shortly after yesterday's collision.

He told BBC News: 'A couple of cars coming towards us flashed their headlights. The first vehicle we saw was a Sandringham Estate Discovery police car, which is a plain car but with blue flashing lights.

'There was quite a bit of debris on the road so we had to go into the middle of the road and go past slowly. I saw a 4x4 on its side and a car next to it in a hedge. Six or eight ordinary cars all parked round with people helping, then just next to that a normal police car directing traffic.

'I couldn't tell you whether [Prince Philip] was in or out of the vehicle that point, I'd say he was in. I didn't know it was him at the time.'

Related: Prince Philip sparks older drivers debate: what are the rules?

The Duke is expected to be intensely monitored by medics for the next 48 hours to ensure he has no internal injuries, such as a potentially deadly bleed on the brain. 

Dr Nick Scriven, President of the Society for Acute Medicine, told The Mirror: 'They will have to keep an eye on him overnight because the risk for this will be over the next 24 to 48 hours. This is not a minor event for a 97-year-old.'

Another woman drove past where the crash happened at around 3.40pm.

'I saw a black, 4x4 type car on its side and me and my son were like "oh my word, that doesn't look good".'

'Luckily it was just sort of on the side of the road, the road wasn't closed in any way.

'Obviously it looked quite smashed in. I'm quite amazed he [the duke] is okay actually.'

One man, who gave his name only as George, was driving through Sandringham when he saw a 'black Land Rover coming up on one of the junctions'. 

'I saw who it was,' he told The Times. 'They often drive round the estate. I followed him up and when I got to the junction the car was on its side.

' My interpretation is that it was struck on the side, maybe as he's pulled out on to the A149. The Duke was there with three or four police officers.' 

a person that is lit up at night: Picture shows highway workers clearing up the wreckage following the crash © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Picture shows highway workers clearing up the wreckage following the crash

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Retired Duke remains in robust health - but has struggled with bladder infection and a hip replacement in recent years 

The Duke of Edinburgh continues to remain robust at the age of 97 - but has still faced a handful of health concerns in recent years. 

Prince Philip has been supremely fit since his Navy days and is understood to still walk or take the stairs whenever possible. 

Since his retirement in 2017, Philip has maintained his independence through driving, whether it is a car on the roads around Sandringham, or a carriage through the leafy grounds of Windsor Castle, where he spends the majority of his time.

Indeed the Duke was behind the wheel when his Range Rover collided with another vehicle near Sandringham on Thursday afternoon. 

While there is no suggestion that his health has played any part in the accident, it will no doubt prompt fresh concern surrounding his condition. 

The Duke of Edinburgh has encountered a handful of relatively minor health issues in recent years.

Prince Philip was hospitalised in April last year and forced to undergo hip replacement surgery, although he has been seen carriage driving a number of times since. 

In June 2017 he was admitted at the urging of a doctor after a battle with a bladder infection. 

The condition forced Prince Philip into the hospital twice in 2012, including once after he stood by the Queen's side for a cold, rain-lashed Thames pageant marking Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee. 

It flared up again two months later at Balmoral, necessitating five more days in the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.  

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With the Queen's consort in his 98th year there may be calls from some for the duke to give up driving.

Prince Charles has previously revealed he was 'always worried' about his father's determination to keep on driving into old age. 

In 2014 he met Ivor Thomas, a D-Day veteran, whose 61-year-old son, Philip, told Charles that his father insisted on driving despite being in a wheelchair. 

The Prince replied: 'So does my father. I'm always worried,' before gesturing towards Mr Thomas and asking, 'but his eyesight's all right?'

Figures show that in 2018, the number of drivers aged over 70 referred by the DVLA for extra testing increased by 20 per cent.

Under UK driving laws, people have to reapply for their licence once they turn 70. After that, they have to submit a new application every three years.

But Edmund King, AA president, said: 'Young, predominantly male, drivers are much more likely to crash within six months of passing their test than older drivers within six months of hanging up their keys.

'Older drivers often self-restrict their driving by not driving at night and only driving on familiar roads.

'The decision to hang up your keys is a tough one but should be based on personal advice from your GP and family, rather than being based on some arbitrary age.'

The Archbishop of York tweeted a prayer for Prince Philip following the accident.

He wrote: 'Almighty God, the Fountain of all Goodness, We humbly beseech thee to bless Philip Duke of Edinburgh. Endow him with thy Holy Spirit; enrich him with thy Heavenly Grace; prosper him with all happiness; and bring him to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.'

He later added: 'God of Love and Compassion reach out with your Peace to the people who were in the car involved in the traffic accident with Prince Philip's vehicle. Amen.'

a screenshot of a cell phone: He wrote: 'Almighty God, the Fountain of all Goodness, We humbly beseech thee to bless Philip Duke of Edinburgh. Endow him with thy Holy Spirit; enrich him with thy Heavenly Grace; prosper him with all happiness; and bring him to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited He wrote: 'Almighty God, the Fountain of all Goodness, We humbly beseech thee to bless Philip Duke of Edinburgh. Endow him with thy Holy Spirit; enrich him with thy Heavenly Grace; prosper him with all happiness; and bring him to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen'

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Councillors to discuss county's danger road 

The dangers of the 60mph road where the Duke of Edinburgh crashed are to be discussed by Norfolk county councillors today.

The A149 is an accident blackspot – with the high speed limit and the road's design blamed for a series of crashes, some of them fatal.

In the six years to May 2018 there were 40 injury accidents on the A149, five of which resulted in deaths.

County council officers, who blame speeding motorists, are proposing to install speed cameras.

But Sandringham Parish Council chairman Ben Colson said local councillors believe that junction designs are to blame.

'It has a bad accident record,' he said last night. 'There are conflicting views as to what the causes of that are.

'My personal view is that the high accident rate in the area generally arises from the junction design more than it does from speeds because often the roads are heavily congested and it's impossible to do 60mph anyway.'

Mr Colson said the 15-miles between King's Lynn and Hunstanton was the most dangerous stretch of the road.

Describing the spot where Prince Philip's car overturned, he added: 'At that point, as you're coming north from the King's Lynn direction, you're coming from a wider stretch of road on to a narrower stretch. It's a dangerous stretch of road.'

The council officers' recommendation to today's meeting of the county's environment, development and transport committee include reducing the speed limit to 50mph and installing average speed cameras at a total cost of around £50,000.

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Norfolk Police said officers were called to the A149 at Sandringham just before 3pm on Thursday after a Land Rover and a Kia were involved in a collision.

'The male driver of the Land Rover was uninjured. The female driver of the Kia suffered cuts while the female passenger sustained an arm injury, both requiring hospital treatment,' the force said.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh driving a car: Prince Philip has been staying with the Queen at Sandringham since Christmas and will be monitored for at least 48 hours © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Prince Philip has been staying with the Queen at Sandringham since Christmas and will be monitored for at least 48 hours 'We can confirm both casualties from the Kia have been treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn and have since been discharged. The road remained open and both vehicles were recovered a short time later.

'It is force policy to breath test drivers involved in collisions. We can confirm both drivers were breath tested and provided negative readings.'

Buckingham Palace said: 'The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road traffic accident with another vehicle this afternoon.

' a truck driving down a dirt road: Prince Philip driving his Land Rover at Windsor in 2013 and his son Charles has said he refuses to stop driving © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Prince Philip driving his Land Rover at Windsor in 2013 and his son Charles has said he refuses to stop driving The Duke was not injured. The accident took place close to the Sandringham Estate. Local police attended the scene.'

The spokeswoman would not comment on suggestions Philip was travelling with a passenger, who is likely to have been his close protection officer.

The Prince is known to regularly drive himself around the 20,000-acre estate which has been his main home since his retirement was announced.

He was pictured enjoying a solo spin around Balmoral as recently as September last year.

The Duke has been staying with the Queen at Sandringham since Christmas. 

He retired from public life in August 2017 after completing 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

a castle on top of a lush green field with Sandringham House in the background: Aerial view of the Sandringham Estate surrounded by 20,000 acres of Norfolk parkland  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Aerial view of the Sandringham Estate surrounded by 20,000 acres of Norfolk parkland 

Philip has encountered a handful of relatively minor health issues in recent years, including undergoing a hip operation in May 2018 and suffering a bladder infection the year before.

He most recently prompted speculation surrounding his health when he chose not to join the rest of the Royal Family for the traditional Christmas Day church service at Sandringham.

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LAND ROVER FREELANDER FACTFILE 

The now discontinued Freelander was given a five-star safety rating when it was crash-tested by independent safety body Euro NCAP.

■ It has seven front and rear safety airbags to protect the driver and passengers, including a driver's knee airbag.

■ A safety report praised the way its steering column moved forward, creating more space for the driver, when it was tested for a front impact crash.

■ It features a 2.2 litre turbodiesel engine with 148 bhp or 187 bhp. It can come in two-wheel or four-wheel drive options

■ The top of the range HSE LUX version featured Windsor leather seats, Grand Black Lacquer finisher, premium carpet mats and 19-inch diamond turned wheels 

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In response a royal source said: 'The Duke is in perfectly good health, he is just spending the day privately.'

He was last seen at the Queen's annual festive lunch at Buckingham Palace in December.

In June 2017 he was admitted at the urging of a doctor after a battle with a bladder infection.

The condition forced the Duke into hospital twice in 2012, including once after he stood by the Queen's side for a cold, rain-lashed Thames pageant marking Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee.

Philip married Elizabeth in 1947 and has been by his wife's side throughout her long reign.

In November 2017 Philip and the Queen marked 70 years of marriage, their platinum anniversary, with a black tie dinner for friends and family at Windsor Castle.

Since his retirement last year, Philip has had more time to enjoy carriage-driving, which has been one of his favourite past-times since the 1970s.

He raced carriages near Norfolk before going on to represent Britain at several world and European championships.

But the Duke has not been immune to other scrapes.

He was involved in a crash which wrote off a Mercedes and injured another motorist 23 years ago – just 30 miles from his latest accident, MailOnline can reveal.    

The collision, which took place on a cold January morning in 1996, has echoes of today's events in which the Prince was involved in a collision near his Sandringham estate. 

Patrick Daynes, then 48, had been driving through Brandon, Suffolk when - after stopping at a pedestrian crossing - he experienced the Duke's Range Rover smash into the back of his Mercedes. 

Then in 2010, he injured his ankle when his horse-drawn carriage hit a tree stump on the Windsor Estate.

'It was a minor injury and he didn't even go to hospital,' a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said at the time. 'He is fine.'

Tonight, Mr Daynes, 71, described the shock incident to MailOnline, saying: 'The Prince's Range Rover came into the back of my Mercedes while I was waiting at a pedestrian crossing. 

'The accident caused considerable damage – I never saw my Mercedes again afterwards.' 

A female groom who was in the carriage went to hospital with an elbow injury. 

 

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RICHARD KAY: There's only one person who can tell Prince Philip to stop driving... but will the Queen dare?

a person standing in front of a car: The Duke of Edinburgh driving around the Royal Windsor Horse Show after his hip operation in May last year © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Duke of Edinburgh driving around the Royal Windsor Horse Show after his hip operation in May last year Somehow it was typical of Prince Philip yesterday not to wait for paramedics after clambering from his overturned car. Instead, it was only when he was back at Sandringham that he was examined by a doctor.

According to official bulletins from Buckingham Palace, he was not hurt in the accident, which happened on a road bisecting the Norfolk estate.

But eyewitnesses reported that he was ‘very, very shocked’ and shaken.

That he seemingly escaped uninjured will naturally be a source of great relief not just for the Queen and the Royal Family but for the country, too.

a car driving down a street: Pictures taken by a passing driver show Prince Philip's Land Rover Freelander 2 on its side as an ambulance races to the scene © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Pictures taken by a passing driver show Prince Philip's Land Rover Freelander 2 on its side as an ambulance races to the scene

Once again, he appears simply indestructible. Nothing it seems can dent his durability or his indomitable spirit.

But now questions will inevitably be asked about the wisdom of a man of 97, however proud and physically robust, taking the wheel of a powerful car.

Philip’s obstinacy is famously matched only by his boldness. This, remember, is a man who still enjoys the thrills of hurtling around a carriage-driving course decades after most of his contemporaries retired.

a close up of a car: Prince Philip driving a Land Rover through the Balmoral Estate in Scotland in September 2018 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Prince Philip driving a Land Rover through the Balmoral Estate in Scotland in September 2018 He has always held strong views on the nature of risk, and is certainly not foolhardy. But this accident poses questions not just about the Duke of Edinburgh’s welfare, but what he represents for other road-users.

In short, is the Prince now at an age where he could be considered a danger to motorists?

However good a driver he is — and one of his former bodyguards tells me he always considered him among the safest and most responsible royals to get behind the wheel — it is demonstrably true that as we age, our reaction speed diminishes. Our hearing, too, is not as pin-sharp, and the eyesight starts to fade.

And little more than six months short of his 98th birthday, Philip must be one of the oldest motorists in the country.

There comes a time in most people’s lives when the responsibility of age should make them take a long, hard look in the mirror, for the sake not just of themselves but of others, too.

Two years ago, Philip did just that when he decided he wished to stand down from official life. Now, surely, he must consider taking another step to accommodate the march of time.

The fact is he does not even need to drive. He has the round-the-clock presence of police bodyguards and access to any of the royal chauffeurs. Or, if that doesn’t suit, one of his valets or even a friend could assume the duty of driver.

The problem, of course — as all those who know the Prince will testify — is his sheer bloody-mindedness. Indeed, the fact that he escaped yesterday’s scare in his two-ton Land Rover Freelander might, if anything, embolden him to keep driving.

So if Philip himself will not surrender his driving duties, who can possibly tell him to stop? No courtier, however bold, would dare. The answer can only be the Queen. Were she to do so, then Philip, who has spent every minute of their 71 years of marriage obeying his wife, would surely agree.

Of course, that, too, throws up an intriguing possibility as to whether the Queen would actually press her husband to pursue a course he manifestly doesn’t want to.

‘The reason their relationship has worked so well for so many years is that neither has forced the other to do something,’ says a former lady-in-waiting.

For decades, Philip has put duty first, whatever the cost. During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it meant shivering without a coat in the rain for four hours during the Thames river pageant. It was Philip, a brave young wartime naval officer, who particularly wanted a waterborne tribute to his wife of 64 years, and the Queen was happy to do it his way.

a car parked on the side of a building: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are driven by Prince Philip, along with the Queen at Sandringham in April 2016 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are driven by Prince Philip, along with the Queen at Sandringham in April 2016 It must have occurred to palace advisers that for this couple of such great age to spend the entire time on their feet was at least unwise and at worst, foolish. But Prince Philip is stubborn, and while fit young people all around this upright, elderly man wilted in the long hours of a wet and chilly afternoon on the river, he stuck to the business at hand.

The upshot was an infection and a stay in hospital.

It was partly because of that experience that the prince decided to retire. ‘The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,’ he laughingly told one retainer at the time.

But Philip was never going to adapt to the standard format of retirement. He likes his independence too much for that. And nothing illustrates that independence more than the freedom of the open road.

Both he and the Queen adore the chance to get behind the wheel whenever they are on the three big royal estates — Windsor, Balmoral and Sandringham.

Philip’s only concession is to use his seatbelt — which mercifully he must have had on yesterday. The Queen, on the other hand, often motors about the private roads on the estate without buckling up — as she is quite entitled to do.

For Philip, the car represents an escape from the formalities of royal life. In the early days of his marriage, he liked nothing more than to speed off in his two-seater sports car.

Since retiring, he likes to potter around in one of the estate cars. And if he can do so on his own, so much the better.

Just before Christmas he drove himself to the Sandringham sawmill, where estate Christmas trees are sold to locals. And a few days before that, while still at Windsor Castle, he was seen driving on the estate’s back roads.

a bird sitting on top of a dirt field: The scene near to the Sandringham Estate where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road accident while driving © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The scene near to the Sandringham Estate where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road accident while driving

His view is uncompromising — as long as he is in good health, physically and mentally, he sees no reason to stop driving.

As his former bodyguard says with considerable understatement: ‘He is prone to being very independent. He would often try to drive off without one of us in the passenger seat, it was something of a game. That was all right on the estate, but we weren’t too happy if he tried to go further afield.’

He is a mixture of robust common sense and impetuousness, a man who tends to laugh off concerns about his safety while haring across the countryside with reins in hand, for example.

After a driving career almost eight decades long, Philip has inevitably had the odd prang.

Twenty-three years ago, he was involved in a minor shunt while driving in Brandon, Suffolk, after apparently colliding with the back of a Mercedes.

Neither he nor the other driver were hurt, and there were no court proceedings.

Yesterday’s accident was clearly of a more serious nature. But will it lead to a royal change of mind?

For Philip, the motor car has been an essential part of his life.

His very first car was a 1935 Standard which ended up in a private collection in Sri Lanka.

He never forgot it, and during a visit to the country in 1956 he tracked it down.

Despite being remarkably fit for a man barely two years away from his century, the Prince is not as mobile as he once was.

Even so he can — and often does — walk to the stables at Windsor, where carriage-driving ponies are housed.

At Sandringham, where he often spends time at Wood Farm, there is little need for a car.

Since the New Year, Philip and the Queen have been together at Sandringham — she is due back in London after observing the anniversary of her father King George VI’s death (and her accession to the throne) on February 6.

Philip may return with her, or more likely remain in Norfolk a little longer.

The night before the accident, the couple gave a party for estate workers and today they will be hosting a group of Prince Andrew’s friends, who are arriving for a shooting weekend.

Normally, Philip would get behind the wheel to follow the guns during the course of the shoot.

After yesterday the question is, will he? Or will the accident mean that Philip sacrifices one of his last remaining indulgences? Having escaped serious injury, his family — and the nation — will be wishing that he does. 

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Dangers of older drivers getting behind the wheel: As Philip crashes, figures show the number of over 70s sent for extra testing has risen by a fifth

By James Salmon, Transport Editor for the Daily Mail  

The Duke of Edinburgh’s crash at the age of 97 will spark fresh debate about the safety of older drivers on Britain’s roads.

More than five million motorists aged over 70 hold a driving licence, official figures show.

And more than 100,000 over-90s are still allowed to drive.

There are even 265 centenarians who hold a valid licence – with the oldest four all aged 104.

But last year the number of drivers aged over 70 referred by the DVLA for extra testing increased by 20 per cent, from 4,424 to 5,500.

Motoring groups have resisted calls for restrictions or bans on older drivers, pointing out they have fewer accidents than young people who have recently passed their test. This is reflected in their lower insurance premiums.

a man taking a selfie in a car: Figures show that in the past year, the number of drivers aged over 70 referred by the DVLA for extra testing has increased by 20 per cent, from 4,424 to 5,500. File photo © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Figures show that in the past year, the number of drivers aged over 70 referred by the DVLA for extra testing has increased by 20 per cent, from 4,424 to 5,500. File photo

But police and safety campaigners have raised concerns that some older drivers are in no fit state to get behind the wheel.

Key worries are failing eyesight, slower reaction times and conditions such as dementia.

Motorists over 70 must complete a self-assessment every three years and declare they are in good enough shape to continue driving. This involves simply filling in a form and there is no requirement to take a formal test or medical examination. However, they must tell the DVLA if they develop a medical condition, such as Parkinson’s or epilepsy, that could affect their driving.

The DVLA can then arrange for a doctor to examine the driver, and will in some cases ask them to take a driving or eyesight test.

Depending on the outcome, they may be told to adapt their car to take account of their disability, issued with a licence for one, two or three years with their ability to drive reviewed after that – or ordered off the roads immediately.

Under guidance issued by the General Medical Council, GPs are obliged to alert the DVLA if they believe their patients are unfit to drive, but should try to persuade them to report themselves first.

Opticians have estimated there are around one million people of all ages with poor eyesight driving illegally on Britain’s roads.

They have called for drivers to be required to take a comprehensive vision check to prove they meet the legal standard when they first apply for a licence and every ten years after that.

Campaigners have also called for a so-called Poppy’s Law, making it a legal requirement for medical professionals to report patients who are unfit to drive.

This followed the death of three-year-old Poppy-Arabella Clarke, who was killed in 2016 by a motorist aged 73 who had ignored opticians’ warnings not to drive and was not wearing his glasses.

Police in Essex also raised the alarm after a surge in accidents involving drivers aged over 70. Between 2014 and 2016, motorists in this category were involved in 12 per cent of accidents in the county where somebody was killed or seriously hurt – despite accounting for only 7 per cent of the total miles driven.

Last night AA president Edmund King said imposing more restrictions – or even bans – on elderly drivers would not be the right move.

‘If driving restrictions based on age and safety were introduced we would be more likely to restrict young drivers,’ he said. ‘Young, predominantly male, drivers are much more likely to crash within six months of passing their test than older drivers within six months of hanging up their keys.

‘The decision to hang up your keys is a tough one but should be based on personal advice from your GP and family rather than being based on some arbitrary age. We all age differently and the car is an essential lifeline for many elderly people.’

 

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How a Range Rover driven by the Duke of Edinburgh was sold in 2017 

a person in a suit and tie: Then US President Barack Obama travelled in Prince Philip´s Range Rover alongside the Queen and Michelle Obama © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Then US President Barack Obama travelled in Prince Philip´s Range Rover alongside the Queen and Michelle Obama

A Range Rover driven by the Duke of Edinburgh as he picked up Barack Obama during a visit by the then US president to the UK was sold in 2018.

The car featured during the 2016 presidential visit, and hosted then first lady Michelle Obama alongside the Queen in the back seats.

Philip showed the US leader and his wife the personal touch when he drove them and his own wife to Windsor Castle after the Marine One presidential helicopter had landed close to the Queen's Berkshire home.

The gesture was akin to picking up guests from the airport although the journey only lasted a few minutes, but Mr Obama looked delighted when he discovered Philip would be driving them.

Land Rover themselves kitted out the top-spec Autobiography Range Rover at their HQ at Gaydon, Warwickshire with several adjustments for its royal owner.

Police lighting was installed as well as unique fixed side steps, which have not been approved for public use.

Additional grab handles were also installed from new to help the Queen to access the 4×4, and the rear TV screens were removed - although they were subsequently reinstalled.

The duke may have been approaching his 95th birthday at the time but he looked composed at the wheel of the Range Rover as it made its way around the castle's quadrangle and stopped outside the sovereign's entrance.

The vehicle, which was used by the Royal Household for two years, was priced at £129,850 with a low mileage of 3,200. 

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