No seatbelt, no apology – how Prince Philip has handled the fallout from his car accident

The elderly royal has failed to impress some since his car accident last Thursday.

We get it. When you reach a certain age you no longer worry about what everyone else thinks. Life becomes well and truly too short to live up to others’ expectations. You’ve got to be bold, take life by the horns, do it your way and all that jazz.

When you’re royal, maybe that’s felt even more keenly.

That’s well and good. But when your decisions affect others’ safety – as well as your own – is ‘you being you’ okay then?

With the A149 barely cleared from the car crash 97-year-old Prince Philip was involved in on Thursday 17 January near Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, the Duke of Edinburgh has already been spotted back behind the wheel of a vehicle, and not wearing a seatbelt.

According to the British Press Association the Duke of Edinburgh was photographed wearing dark glasses, but no seatbelt, while driving a new Land Rover near Sandringham Estate just 48 hours after flipping his old one.

A Norfolk Constabulary spokeswoman has said police were aware of the photos and “suitable words of advice have been given to the driver”.

“This is in line with our standard response when being made aware of, or receiving such images showing this type of offense,” she explained.

But what does that mean?

Thursday’s accident is under investigation and the elderly royal may have to surrender his license to avoid being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

Might it be more appropriate to start looking for a driver instead?

The smashed glass and car parts left behind at the site of Prince Philip’s car crash.

“I’m such a fool,” the prince reportedly told retired NHS worker Victoria Warne at the scene of Thursday’s accident. He asked after the welfare of the three occupants of the other vehicle – the 28-year-old driver and passengers, Emma Fairweather, a 45-year-old mother of two, and a nine month old baby.

But his concern fell short of an apology and Fairweather, who broke her wrist in the collision, is so incensed she is considering making a personal injury claim.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, Fairweather 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?”

The Queen has delivered her “warmest good wishes following the accident”, via a phone call made by the Queen’s lady-in-waiting. But Fairweather says she’s heard nothing from the monarch’s husband.

Prince Philip claimed the sun had blinded him as he’d pulled out on the main road but Fairweather reports the conditions were cloudy. Fortunately she was the only one to sustain injuries in the collision. The driver of the Kia received only minor cuts to one knee and the baby was uninjured, as was the Duke of Edinburgh.

Prince Philip is undoubtedly one of the world’s favourite royals, and he has endeared himself to the public with his frequent gaffes. He has stood stoically by the Queen’s side throughout their 62-year marriage, and sacrificed much to be married to a monarch. He retired from public duties only in 2017, after 65 years and more than 22,219 solo engagements.

But 97 is old, by anyone’s standards, to be driving – even if he does reportedly still hold a drivers’ license and passed an eyesight test two days after the crash.

He was in a car accident that involved three members of the British public, including a mother-of-two and nine-month-old baby.

A more sensible and sensitive approach would have been more fitting.

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