Regular-article-logo Thursday, 08 June 2023

2 days after crash, Duke flouts seat-belt rule on test drive

Prince Philip had passed a police eyesight test on Saturday

Amit Roy London Published 20.01.19, 08:37 PM
Prince Philip spotted driving the replacement car — without a seat belt

Prince Philip spotted driving the replacement car — without a seat belt Picture sent by correspondent

What is the best way to describe the Duke of Edinburgh — incorrigible, insouciant, devil may care, a man’s man, or a 97-year-old Greek immigrant who married rather well and thinks he is above the law?

Indian-owned Jaguar Land Rover immediately gave or possibly gifted him a replacement 4x4 just one day after he was pulled out through the sun roof of his overturned Tata Motors-made Freelander.


Most normal people would keep a low profile after such a near escape and especially when the story has overtaken Brexit on the front pages of British national newspapers.

Two days after his accident, Philip was seen merrily driving his replacement car on the Sandringham estate, without an apparent care in the world. He was not even wearing a seat belt.

The only concession he made was that he was wearing sunglasses. On Thursday he had told police that when the accident happened at 2.45pm, he was dazzled by the winter sun.

Jeremy Clarkson, presenter of the magazine programme Top Gear, reflected widespread outrage as he joined calls for Philip to be stripped of his driving licence: “What the hell is a man of 97 doing behind wheel?”

Prince Philip certainly cheated death when his vehicle somersaulted more than once and careered over to the grass verge on the other side of the fast moving A149 in Norfolk. He pulled out of a T-junction from the Sandringham estate where he has been spending the winter break with the 92-year-old Queen.

He could have killed the two women passengers and a nine-month baby in a small Kia that hit him probably at 60mph.

Buckingham Palace did not immediately comment on the new images. The duke passed a police eyesight test on Saturday, a source confirmed.

A Norfolk Constabulary spokesperson said the force was aware of the photographs taken on Saturday and that “suitable words of advice have been given to the driver”.

She said: “This is in line with our standard response when being made aware of such images showing this type of offence. 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.”

A source said on Friday: “The duke’s routine in the coming days will continue as normal.”

The two women in the Kia have also been giving their version of events. It was being driven by a 28-year-old woman, whose nine-month-old baby was in the car.

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said Philip exchanged “well-wishes” with the injured women, but Emma Fairweather, a 46-year-old mother of two who was the passenger who broke her wrist in the accident, claimed this was not the case.

She said: “I love the royals but I’ve been ignored and rejected and I’m in a lot of pain. It would mean the world to me if Prince Philip said sorry but

I have no idea if he’s sorry at all. What would it have taken for him and the Queen to send me a card and a bunch of flowers? Maybe he should prioritise that over test-driving his new car.”

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