- Norfolk Police investigating Duke’s crash as it emerges royal was driving without personal protection officer
- Prince Philip was ‘conscious but very shocked and shaken’ after crashing his Land Rover near Sandringham
- The Duke is unhurt and with the Queen following the dramatic crash after he pulled out on to A149 in Norfolk
- Two women with nine-month-old baby in back of their Kia smashed into the side of his armoured Land Rover
- All three were rushed to hospital – one suffered a broken arm, the other injured her knee but baby unharmed
- Philip was pulled from the wreckage via sunroof and Duke was ‘conscious’ but ‘very shaken and shocked’
- Experts have warned of the dangers of older drivers getting behind the wheel amid rise in over 70s DVLA tests
Police are today investigating the Duke of Edinburgh’s role in a horror car smash involving a baby and its mother as it was revealed the Queen’s husband was able to walk over and ask them: ‘Is everyone else alright?’.
Barrister Roy Warne pulled Prince Philip, 97, from the wreckage of his Land Rover and said the royal told officers he had been ‘dazzled by the sun’ before the collision near the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk at 2.45pm yesterday.
The Kia that ploughed into him on the 60mph road was carrying a nine-month-old baby, its mother, 28, and another woman, 45, who suffered a broken arm and an injured knee, but the child was unhurt.
Norfolk Police told MailOnline today they are treating it like any other road traffic collision, meaning they are likely to question the Duke once he is recovered. A force spokesman said: ‘The incident will be investigated and any appropriate action taken’.
The Queen will be ‘very annoyed’ with her husband, according to royal expert Ingrid Seward, and Prince Charles said recently he was ‘always worried’ about his father’s determination to keep driving well into his nineties.
If Philip was at fault for the smash he could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention – but could avoid court by surrendering his licence, according to driving offence lawyer Nick Freeman, best known as ‘Mr Loophole’.
The crash also raises major security questions after it emerged there was no royal protection officer in the car with Prince Philip – but it is understood the royal’s team followed in a car behind.
Roy Warne, 75, was driving home from hospital with his wife Victoria, 72, who had just been given the all clear from breast cancer, when he saw the Duke’s car ‘tumbling across the road’.
He helped free the ‘conscious’ but ‘very shaken and shocked’ royal through the 4×4’s sunroof as the Duke shouted: ‘My legs! Where should I put my legs?’
Mr Warne said: ‘He [Philip] wasn’t rude. He was very shaken and he went and asked: ‘Is everyone else alright?’. He’s a very brave man. He didn’t make a big fuss about it’.
He added: ‘He is lucky to be alive. I saw the Duke’s car careering, tumbling across the road – it ended up on the other side, having rolled right over. It was an astonishing escape for everyone. People could have been killed. The impact was enormous’.
Mr Warne said he wasn’t sure where the Duke’s security detail had been but added that police arrived on the scene in a different car ‘very quickly’, once he had pulled Philip out.
Scroll down for video
Prince Philip is ‘conscious but very shocked and shaken’ after a dramatic crash near his Sandringham Estate which left two women in the other vehicle in hospital and the Land Rover he was driving on its side in a crumpled heap
Prince Philip is ‘conscious but very shocked and shaken’ after crashing his Land Rover in a dramatic car crash near the Sandringham estate. The Queen is by the Duke’s side following the collision which happened just after 3pm when he was pulling out of a driveway onto the A149 in Babingley, Norfolk which leads to Sandringham. Images have emerged showing the black Land Rover with severe damage to its left side
As Prince Philip recovers at Sandringham, it has emerged:
- The royal was saved by his armoured Land Rover that protected him despite being hit by a car at up to 60mph and rolling across the carriageway;
- Duke of Edinburgh pulled out of junction and was hit on driver’s side by Kia carrying a nine-month-old baby, its mother, 28, and another woman, 45. Baby was uninjured but women suffered broken arm and injured knee;
- Roy Warne, 75, pulled the Duke out via the sunroof and said the royal was ‘shocked’ but able to walk over to the crash victims and ask if they were injured;
- Police are investigating the smash and top lawyer Mr Loophole admits Philip could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention or forced to give up his licence;
- Princess Diana’s bodyguard Ken Wharfe tells MailOnline there will be a Scotland Yard probe into why royal was driving without a royal protection officer with him;
Philip is believed to have pulled out of a side-road, coming from Sandringham House, on to the busy A149 where the Kia, travelling at up to 60mph, struck his side of the 4X4 in a so-called ‘t-bone’ smash.
Prince Philip could be prosecuted for driving without due care, says Mr Loophole
The Duke of Edinburgh collided with another car after pulling out into a main road, according to witnesses.
If that was the case, he could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention, which carries an unlimited fine, according to Nick Freeman, the lawyer dubbed Mr Loophole.
But the 97-year-old royal would have a good defence if he blamed being blinded by the sun – as one witness reported – and could also avoid prosecution by surrendering his licence, Mr Freeman added.
Mr Freeman, known for representing celebrity clients such as David Beckham, said it appeared the duke pulled out into the path of the other car in Thursday’s crash near Sandringham.
‘If he simply drove without due care and attention because of a relevant medical issue – because maybe at 97 you’re just not as sharp as you would have been – and he’s just made a mistake, which is probably what’s happened – on the face of it he would be driving without due care and attention,’ Mr Freeman said.
According to Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) guidance, the offence of driving without due care and attention is committed when a person’s driving falls below the standard expected of a competent and careful driver.
The test of whether the standard of driving has fallen below the required standard applies both when ‘the manner of driving in question is deliberate and when it occurs as a result of incompetence, inadvertence or inexperience’, the CPS guidance states.
The offence carries up to nine points and an unlimited fine based on net disposable income.
There is a precedent for members of the royal family to be prosecuted for driving offences.
Philip’s daughter the Princess Royal was given a written warning for speeding on the M1 in 1972 and fined £40 after she was clocked doing 96mph on the same motorway five years later.
In 1990 the Princess Royal was banned from driving and fined £150 for speeding by magistrates in Stow-on-the-Wold, in Gloucestershire, and in 2001 she was fined £400 after admitting driving her Bentley at 93mph on a dual carriageway.
The Land Rover was flipped on to the passenger side, and then slid across the carriageway before ‘somersaulting’ back on to the driver’s side and coming to a halt on a grass verge.
Philip was pulled out of the sunroof by driver Mr Warne, who had stopped at the scene, and the Duke was breathalysed by police, which came back negative, and rushed back to Sandringham where he is recovering with the Queen by his side. He will be monitored by doctors for 48 hours for signs of concussion or internal injuries.
The Duke of Edinburgh was clearly dazed after the crash but was uninjured, but two women inside the Kia were treated in hospital, one for a suspected broken arm, the other for an injured knee. The nine-month-old baby was unharmed.
Mr Warne immediately pulled over to help, fearing that he would find the occupants of both cars dead or seriously injured.
He first rushed over to the Kia which was partially in a hedge with smoke pouring from the engine, making him fear it would explode.
Mr Warne said he immediately saw a baby boy in the back of the Kia with two women in the front seats.
He said: ‘There were two woman in the car and one of them had a broken arm and they were very shaken.
‘One of them was the mother of the child and she was quite upset. The windows were down and with another chap, we got the baby out.
‘My main concern was their car because there was a lot of smoke around it and I thought the tank might go up.
‘The person in the car behind me also stopped and the passenger in that car actually took the baby in his arms after we freed it from the baby harness.’
Mr Warne of Thornham, Norfolk, said he then turned his attention to the upturned Land Rover without realising that it was being driven by Philip.
He said: ‘I got the baby out and then I got to the other car. There was an elderly gentleman in there otherwise known as the Duke of Edinburgh and I helped him to get out
‘I had no idea at first that it was him because I couldn’t see his face. I helped him move his legs which were a bit trapped and a bit crushed, then I saw his face and I realised who it was.
‘He didn’t seem to be in pain and I don’t think he was particularly concerned but obviously he was very shocked in the circumstances.
‘It was obviously a horrendous accident. Its just amazing that people were not more seriously injured.
‘The door was underneath. What I thought was the door was the roof. It was all through 90 degrees. I’m not sure if I got him out through the corner of the windscreen or the sun roof
‘The windscreen was badly splintered but it was still in place and I prised it from the corner and freed it from the joint.
‘He was trapped. I asked him to move his left leg and that freed his right leg and then I helped him get out. I can’t remember what he said but it was nothing rude.
‘I put my hands under his arms and helped ease him out backwards. Then I saw his face and realised who it was
‘He spoke to me. I can’t remember the words, but it was of a person who was obviously in some shock.
‘The Duke spoke to my wife and asked how everyone was and whether anyone was hurt. He seemed relived (when he was told that nobody was seriously hurt),
‘He was a very old man and he was obviously very shaken up and he responded as you would imagine the Duke of Edinburgh would.
‘He spoke to my wife and said he was dazzled by the sun. The sun was very, very low. It was almost at horizon level and it was very strong.
‘I was wearing sunglasses and where he was coming from he would have been looking straight into the sun. I can understand how it happened.
‘I thought the injuries were going to be extremely serious. It was such a relief that nobody was killed. He is lucky to be alive.’
Mr Warne said Philip had been driving out of a side road from the direction of Sandringham House when he pulled out on the A149 road which has a 60mph limit.
How could Prince Philip be punished by police?
Experts have said if the Duke is at fault the most likely offence he has committed is driving without due care and attention – also referred to as careless driving.
The charge covers a multitude of motoring sins, from tailgating to tuning the radio.
Defined in law as ‘allowing the standard of driving to fall below that of a competent and careful driver’.
Aggrevating factors include:
- Excessive speed or aggressive driving
- Carrying out other tasks while driving
- A lack of concentration causing the crash
- Tiredness or driving whilst unwell
- Driving contrary to medical advice
He revealed that police arrived on the scene in a different car ‘very quickly’, once he had pulled Philip out.
Mr Warne added: ‘I had his blood on my hands. It wasn’t much and one of the Royal people gave me a wipe.
‘I have read in the press that both of the drivers were breath tested and they were both negative, but I didn’t see it happen.
‘I didn’t hear any discussion about him going to hospital, but I was told he was being taken to Sandringham House for assessment.
Mr Warne said the prince did not thank him for his efforts, but he added: ‘He wasn’t being discourteous. He had other things on his mind for sure.’
Images emerged of a black Land Rover Freelander 2 – which has a five star NCAP safety rating – having rolled on its side following the crash, where it was ‘t-boned’ by a blue Kia.
At least five police cars and two ambulances went to the scene.
The Duke was seen by a doctor at his medical facilities on the Sandringham Estate as a precaution but was given the all clear.
However, he will be closely monitored for 48 hours to ensure he has no internal injuries, according to reports.
Mr Warne’s account suggests there was no royal protection officer who with him, although some reports suggests there was one in the car, who was also uninjured.
Prince Philip has a driving licence – but his wife is the only legal motorist in Britain without one
The Duke of Edinburgh is from a generation when some people did not need to pass a driving test to obtain a licence, but he does have one, the Palace has said.
He was born on June 10 1921 but compulsory testing for new drivers to obtain a licence was only introduced in Britain on June 1 1935.
This applied to all drivers and riders who started driving on or after April 1 1934 – when Philip was 12.
Philip lived in both Europe and the UK as a boy, and enrolled at Dartmouth Naval College in 1939.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: ‘The duke has got a driving licence and follows all of the usual DVLA procedures.’
The Queen does not having a driving licence.
She is exempt from the law requiring all other citizens to pass a test and hold a licence if they want to drive.
The monarch learned to drive with the Army in 1945 when she was 19 after she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service during the Second World War.
The Duke of Edinburgh and the female driver were breathalysed and both gave negative readings. The crash happened on a stretch of the single carriageway road which has a 60mph limit and is a notorious accident spot.
Philip’s Land Rover was heading on to the A149 out of a private estate road leading from Sandringham House when he was ‘dazzled by winter sunshine’ and struck by the Kia, which was going south.
The impact on Philip’s driver’s side slipped the car on to the passenger’s side before is spun over and slid across the single carriageway.
After reaching the far edge, it then flipped again 180 degrees onto the driver’s side before coming to a halt.
Mr Warne and other drivers quickly ran to help and were joined by emergency service personnel who helped pull the Duke through the sunroof.
A villager who asked not to be named said: ‘It is an extremely busy road and it is a miracle that he was not hit by another car as well.
‘It could easily have been curtains for him, especially at his age. I guess he survived because he was in a solid Land Rover.’
Local driver Natalie Courtney Ely said she had experienced visibility issues on the same stretch of road in the past. ‘I drove past about 10 minutes after it happened,’ she wrote on Facebook. ‘I’m surprised he wasn’t hurt.
‘On that stretch of road the sunlight was causing major visibility issues for me so I’m sure it was for other drivers too – maybe they should consider that due to this the poor visibility was more of the cause of the collision rather than speed.’
Broken glass and pieces of black bumper and blue trim from Philip’s car was left piled up at the side of the road tonight.
A turning off the A149 to the east leads to the village of West Newton, and a private estate road to the west leads past St Felix Chapel, a British Orthodox church.
Astonishingly, the site is just 30 miles from where the Duke was involved in another crash 23 years ago, which wrote off a Mercedes and injured another motorist.
Prince Philip has been staying with the Queen at Sandringham since Christmas and will be monitored for at least 48 hours
Witness Nick Cobb arrived at the scene shortly after yesterday’s collision.
He told BBC News: ‘A couple of cars coming towards us flashed their headlights. The first vehicle we saw was a Sandringham Estate Discovery police car, which is a plain car but with blue flashing lights.
Retired Duke remains in robust health – but has struggled with bladder infection and a hip replacement in recent years
The Duke of Edinburgh continues to remain robust at the age of 97 – but has still faced a handful of health concerns in recent years.
Prince Philip has been supremely fit since his Navy days and is understood to still walk or take the stairs whenever possible.
Since his retirement in 2017, Philip has maintained his independence through driving, whether it is a car on the roads around Sandringham, or a carriage through the leafy grounds of Windsor Castle, where he spends the majority of his time.
Indeed the Duke was behind the wheel when his Range Rover collided with another vehicle near Sandringham on Thursday afternoon.
While there is no suggestion that his health has played any part in the accident, it will no doubt prompt fresh concern surrounding his condition.
The Duke of Edinburgh has encountered a handful of relatively minor health issues in recent years.
Prince Philip was hospitalised in April last year and forced to undergo hip replacement surgery, although he has been seen carriage driving a number of times since.
In June 2017 he was admitted at the urging of a doctor after a battle with a bladder infection.
The condition forced Prince Philip into the hospital twice in 2012, including once after he stood by the Queen’s side for a cold, rain-lashed Thames pageant marking Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.
‘There was quite a bit of debris on the road so we had to go into the middle of the road and go past slowly. I saw a 4×4 on its side and a car next to it in a hedge. Six or eight ordinary cars all parked round with people helping, then just next to that a normal police car directing traffic.
‘I couldn’t tell you whether [Prince Philip] was in or out of the vehicle that point, I’d say he was in. I didn’t know it was him at the time.’
The Duke is expected to be intensely monitored by medics for the next 48 hours to ensure he has no internal injuries, such as a potentially deadly bleed on the brain.
Dr Nick Scriven, President of the Society for Acute Medicine, told The Mirror: ‘They will have to keep an eye on him overnight because the risk for this will be over the next 24 to 48 hours. This is not a minor event for a 97-year-old.’
Another woman drove past where the crash happened at around 3.40pm.
‘I saw a black, 4×4 type car on its side and me and my son were like ‘oh my word, that doesn’t look good’.’
‘Luckily it was just sort of on the side of the road, the road wasn’t closed in any way.
‘Obviously it looked quite smashed in. I’m quite amazed he [the duke] is okay actually.’
One man, who gave his name only as George, was driving through Sandringham when he saw a ‘black Land Rover coming up on one of the junctions’.
‘I saw who it was,’ he told The Times. ‘They often drive round the estate. I followed him up and when I got to the junction the car was on its side.
‘ My interpretation is that it was struck on the side, maybe as he’s pulled out on to the A149. The Duke was there with three or four police officers.’
With the Queen’s consort in his 98th year there may be calls from some for the duke to give up driving.
Prince Charles has previously revealed he was ‘always worried’ about his father’s determination to keep on driving into old age.
In 2014 he met Ivor Thomas, a D-Day veteran, whose 61-year-old son, Philip, told Charles that his father insisted on driving despite being in a wheelchair.
The Prince replied: ‘So does my father. I’m always worried,’ before gesturing towards Mr Thomas and asking, ‘but his eyesight’s all right?’
Figures show that in 2018, the number of drivers aged over 70 referred by the DVLA for extra testing increased by 20 per cent.
Under UK driving laws, people have to reapply for their licence once they turn 70. After that, they have to submit a new application every three years.
But Edmund King, AA president, said: ‘Young, predominantly male, drivers are much more likely to crash within six months of passing their test than older drivers within six months of hanging up their keys.
‘Older drivers often self-restrict their driving by not driving at night and only driving on familiar roads.
‘The decision to hang up your keys is a tough one but should be based on personal advice from your GP and family, rather than being based on some arbitrary age.’