SANDRINGHAM, England (REUTERS) - Queen Elizabeth’s 97-year-old husband Prince Philip has “no injuries of concern” Buckingham Palace said on Friday (Jan 18), after he visited hospital for a precautionary check up following a car crash the day before.
Philip was at the wheel of his Land Rover when it collided with another car on a road close to the royals’ Sandringham private residence in Norfolk, eastern England.
His car flipped over and landed on its side but he was able to walk away after being helped out of the vehicle by members of the public.
Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, returned to Sandringham after the crash but went to a nearby hospital on Friday morning.
“On doctor’s advice, The Duke of Edinburgh visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn this morning for a precautionary check-up,” the Palace said in a statement.
“This confirmed His Royal Highness had no injuries of concern,” it added.
“The Duke has returned to Sandringham.”
The other driver, a 28-year-old woman, suffered cuts to her knee and a 45-year-old woman passenger in the car, which also had a nine-month-old baby on board, sustained a broken wrist. They were taken to hospital but later released.
“It was an astonishing escape for everyone,” said Roy Warne, 75, who pulled the prince from the wreckage on Thursday afternoon.
“People could have been killed. The impact must have been enormous,” Warne, who was driving home with his wife when he saw the collision, told TV reporters.
“He’s a very brave man. He didn’t make a big fuss about it and he went to ask everyone else if they were injured.”
Witnesses told media the accident had occurred when Philip was pulling out of a driveway onto a main road. Pictures from the scene showing Philip’s Land Rover overturned on the side of the road.
Police said both drivers involved in the accident had been breath tested but neither was over the alcohol limit.
“As is standard procedure with injury collisions, the incident will be investigated and any appropriate action taken,” Norfolk police said in a statement.
“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.”
Coincidentally, local councillors were meeting on Friday to discuss safety concerns and lower speed limits on the road where the accident took place.
Philip retired from public life in 2017, although he still occasionally appears alongside his 92-year-old wife at official engagements.
Although he missed the traditional church service on Christmas Day last month, the former naval officer is said to be in good health. He had a successful hip replacement surgery last year.
Royal commentators said Philip, who married Elizabeth in 1947 and has been by her side throughout her record-breaking 66-year reign, would be loath to give up driving. There is no legal age in Britain to stop driving, but drivers over 70 must renew their licences every three years.
Philip drove Barack Obama and his wife Michelle to lunch at Windsor Castle during their state visit to Britain in 2016, prompting the former US president to remark: “I have to say I have never been driven by a Duke of Edinburgh before, but I can report it was very smooth riding.”
The Queen, a trained military driver during World War II, is said to have shocked Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah, then crown prince, by climbing into the driver’s seat and taking him for a ride around her estate during a visit to Britain in 1998, when women were barred from driving in his kingdom.