LONDON – The United Kingdom’s prosecution service said it has decided not to press charges against Prince Philip, the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, after he was involved in a car accident that left two occupants in the other car involved in the crash injured, a statement said on Thursday.
The accident happened when the prince’s Land Rover accelerated from a side road into an intersection and smashed into a vehicle carrying two adults and a baby, which was unhurt.
“We have decided that it would not be in the public interest to prosecute,” Chris Long, Chief Crown Prosecutor, said in a statement. “All those involved in the collision have been informed and provided with a full explanation in writing.”
Although the prince’s car flipped over at least once and landed on its side, leaving the 97-year-old driver hanging by his seat belt, he was able to leave the scene of the accident near the Queen’s Sandringham estate – located northeast of London – after being helped out of his vehicle by a passerby.
Just two days after the crash Philip was photographed behind the wheel of a new car of the same make and model.
The photograph clearly showed he was not wearing his seat belt.
The image of him driving in such a carefree manner drew many newspaper headlines and the consort then said he would stop driving and surrendered his driver’s license to the police.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it had carefully evaluated the evidence submitted by the police “in relation to a traffic collision on the A149 on 17 January this year.”
The statement went on to add that: “We took into account all of the circumstances in this case, including the level of culpability, the age of the driver and the surrender of the driving license.”
The driver of the other car told journalists days after the crash that she had not received either an apology nor an explanation from the prince.
Philip subsequently wrote a letter to one of the women who was injured and apologized. The letter was also made available to the media.
“The sun was shining low over the main road,” the prince wrote. “In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming,” he said.
“But I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences,” he added.
The Queen’s husband, who is also known by his formal title of The Duke of Edinburgh, retired from public engagements in 2017 after having been the longest-serving consort to a monarch in the history of the UK’s throne.
He was always known to have a keen interest in cars and has owned many exclusive and expensive models.
Television viewers saw him behind the wheel when he drove former United States President Barack Obama and his wife Michele Obama around Windsor Castle and its estate when they paid the Queen a visit at her favorite home in 2016.
Drivers aged over 70 in the UK have to renew their license every three years after having passed a simple eye test.
The Queen, however, as Head of State of the UK, does not have to pass that test because driving licenses are issued in her name.