London: Britain’s Prince Philip, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, miraculously escaped unhurt in a terrifying accident when a Land Rover the 97-year-old duke was driving flipped onto its side after a collision with another car carrying two women and a baby.
The Duke of Edinburgh was unharmed but the two women in the Kia hatchback were injured in the accident near the Queen’s Sandringham estate on Thursday. The nine-month-old baby who was in the back seat of car was uninjured.
Pictures from the scene showed Tata Motors’ Land Rover laying on its side with debris scattered around it. It has been suggested that the royal was dazzled by sunlight at a T-junction and his vehicle hit the Kia. Witnesses said the duke was “conscious but very, very shocked and shaken” as he was pulled out from the wreckage of his overturned Land Rover, the Sun reported.
The driver of the Kia suffered cuts, while the passenger sustained an arm injury, police said. Both were treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.
There was a passenger in the duke’s vehicle who was likely his close protection officer. A witness said Philip seemed “distraught” and it was a “miracle” he escaped uninjured.
“I saw the car flip,” Roy Warne, 75, told daily, adding that he rushed to help free the driver before he “suddenly realised it was Prince Philip”.
The duke saw a doctor as a precaution who confirmed he was not hurt.
Police breathalysed both the drivers. Police said it was standard policy to breath test drivers involved in collisions and both had provided negative readings.
Though Philip was unhurt, the accident has stirred up a debate in the UK about old age and driving and raised questions over the duke still driving himself on public roads.
Philip, who formally retired from public life in 2017, has been seen behind the wheels on numerous occasions over the decade.
At present, there is no upper age limit for driving in the UK. However, a person’s driving licence expires once he or she reaches the age of 70. If the licence expires and they fail to renew it, then they legally are not allowed to drive. But if they apply for a renewal they may continue.
The speed limit on the stretch of road where the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in the car crash is expected to be reduced, according to media reports.
The authority is expected to lower the maximum speed limit from 60 mph to 50 mph and approve installing average speed cameras on the road, where 40 accidents, including five fatal, have taken place from 2012-2018.