London: Prince Philip, the 97-year-old husband of British Queen Elizabeth II, has voluntarily surrendered his driving licence, weeks after the duke miraculously escaped unhurt in a terrifying accident that injured two women in another car.
“After careful consideration, the Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving licence,” Buckingham Palace said in a brief statement.
He surrendered his licence on Saturday, the palace said.
The Prince’s decision to hand over his driving licence was entirely his own and he will be driven from now on, it added.
Norfolk Police confirmed that the duke had surrendered his licence to officers and it would now be returned to the DVLA, the BBC reported.
Prince Philip’s decision to surrender his licence comes weeks after he caused a car crash near the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, in which his Land Rover Freelander landed on its side after a collision with a Kia.
Though Philip was unhurt, the accident on January 17 stirred up a debate in the UK about old age and driving and raised questions over the duke still driving himself on public roads. Two days after the accident, the duke was pictured back behind the wheel of the new Land Rover without a seatbelt, which is illegal in Britain. Later, Norfolk Police gave him ‘suitable words of advice’.
Philip, who formally retired from public life in 2017, has been seen behind the wheels on numerous occasions over the decade.
The investigation file for the collision has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service, which said it would take the latest development into account. In the letter to victim of the crash, the duke acknowledged the “very distressing experience”.
“I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident,” he wrote.
“The sun was shining low over the main road. In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming… but I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences.”
At present, there is no upper age limit for driving in the UK. However, a person’s driving licence expires once he or she reaches the age of 70. If the licence expires and they fail to renew it, then they legally are not allowed to drive. But if they apply for a renewal they may continue.