Millennium Post

At 97, Philip averts 1997

Closing in on a century, Britain's Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is still spirited enough to drive. But all that is likely to change after he emerged unhurt from a traffic accident in which the 97-year-old's Land Rover flipped onto its side. According to the police, the accident occurred well into the afternoon on a public road near the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Pictures from the scene showed Philip's vehicle laying on its side with debris scattered around it. Another image showed the vehicle had suffered major damage to the front left-side door, the opposite to where a driver sits in the UK, and much of the side. The other driver involved in the collision "suffered cuts while the female passenger sustained an arm injury, both requiring hospital treatment." Both drivers were given breath tests "per department policy," which they both passed. Following the collision, Philip saw a doctor at the Queen's Sandringham Estate, where he and the monarch are staying. Questions have been raised over whether the Prince, five months from his 98th birthday, should still be driving. The United Kingdom requires drivers older than 70 to renew their license every three years. While the Queen is not required to have a driving license, Prince Philip is. "Many commentators use high-profile car crashes involving elderly drivers as a reason to call for bans or restrictions on older drivers," Edmund King, president of the UK's Automobile Association, said. "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. We all age differently and the car is an essential lifeline for many elderly people." The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, offered a prayer for Philip and the "people who were in the car involved in the traffic accident." Philip retired from public life in 2017 after 65 years of service, during which he conducted more than 22,000 solo engagements and delivered nearly 5,500 speeches. His retirement came more than five years after Buckingham Palace initially said he would commence scaling back his workload, though he remained eager to continue many of his duties. Since taking a step back, Philip has been seen in public at a handful of events with the Queen and other members of the royal family, including last year's weddings of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank. But his age notwithstanding, the nonagenarian has lost none of his spirit for adventure. Car driving to run, say, an odd errand is no adventure but an accident is just that. Good for him he is no longer flying.

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