Prosecutors to review Prince Philip crash as duke ‘voluntarily’ gives up driving licence

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Prosecutors will take into account Prince Philip ”voluntarily” surrendering his driving licence as they consider whether to bring charges over a car crash he was involved in last month.

Buckingham Palace confirmed the Duke of Edinburgh gave up his credentials on Saturday.

The 97-year-old was behind the wheel near the Sandringham Estate last month when his Land Rover Freelander collided with a Kia.

He was unhurt but was checked by a doctor.

Both of the women travelling in the Kia received hospital treatment, one for a broken wrist.

The crash sparked a debate as to whether Prince Philip should still be driving at his age. Just 48 hours after the accident, he was pictured driving without a seatbelt.

A statement from Buckingham Palace said: “After careful consideration The Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving licence.”

A statement by Norfolk Police confirmed the licence had been handed to officers, and that the case was now being considered by prosecutors.

The Crown Prosecution Service stated that the incident file would be reviewed as they considered whether to bring charges, adding they “will take this development into account”.

At the time of the crash, celebrity lawyer Nick Freeman said the duke could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention, which carries an unlimited fine.

However, he added that Prince Philip could avoid prosecution by handing in his licence as it would lower the chances of a case being in the public interest.

Sky News’ royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills said the decision was likely a difficult one for the prince, a keen motorist.

“I suspect [this] will not have been an easy decision for the Duke of Edinburgh to have made,” she said.

“Since he stepped back from his public duties back in 2017, we understand he has been enjoying a quiet-ish retirement.

“However he has been wanting to stay active, and I think being able to drive around the Sandringham Estate where he spends a great deal of time has actually been a really important part of his independence.

“So I suspect this won’t have been a decision which he has taken lightly.”

In the accident on 17 January, Prince Philip’s car flipped over after the collision with the Kia, which was carrying a nine-month-old boy, his mother and another passenger.

More than a week after the crash, the duke wrote a letter to the passengers in the other car to apologise. He blamed the low, bright sun for obscuring his vision.

“I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident at the Babingley cross-roads,” Prince Philip said.

While there is no legal limit on driving ages in the UK, motorists have to renew their licence at least 90 days before reaching the age of 70, and then every three years after that.

A licence can only be renewed if the minimum eyesight requirement is met and there is no other reason to prevent a person from driving.

DVLA figures from 2017 show that 100,281 people over the age of 90 hold valid licences, while 248 people over 100 years old have a licence.

(c) Sky News 2019: Prosecutors to review Prince Philip crash as duke ‘voluntarily’ gives up driving licence

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