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Prince Philip Gives Up Driver’s License

Category: Europe,World

Prince Philip is putting down the car keys at age 97.

Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, gave up his driver’s license, according to a statement released on behalf of the royal family on Saturday, a month after a collision on a rural road north of London raised questions about his abilities behind the wheel.

“After careful consideration, the Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving license,” said a spokeswoman for Buckingham Palace, referring to Philip by his official royal title.

The prince was involved in a crash on Jan. 17 near the royal family’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, about 100 miles north of London. His Land Rover S.U.V. overturned after colliding with another vehicle.

The driver and a passenger of the other car suffered minor injuries; the prince and a 9-month-old boy in the other vehicle were unharmed.

Days after the crash, Prince Philip sent a letter of apology to the driver of the other vehicle, a copy of which was published by The Sunday Mirror.

“I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident at the Babingley crossroads,” Prince Philip wrote. He explained what had happened from his perspective, saying that bright sunlight shining on the main road had impeded his view.

“In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming from the Dersingham direction,” he wrote. “But I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences.”

He said he was “somewhat shaken” by the collision but relieved no one was seriously injured.

Two days after the crash, Prince Philip was photographed behind the wheel of another vehicle near the Sandringham estate, this time without a seatbelt fastened. The prince was given “suitable words of advice” by an officer after that incident, according to a statement from the Norfolk Police.

British drivers over age 70 must renew their licenses every three years and report any new medical conditions to the authorities, but there is no upper age limit for driving in the country.

Philip ended all official engagements after he retired from public duties in late 2017. But in the time since, he has remained active, walking on the family’s sprawling estates and driving horse-drawn carriages.

In 2016, at age 94, Philip drove President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth around the grounds of Windsor Castle during a state visit.

He was also an avid pilot in his younger years, but gave up flying when he was 76.

Unlike her husband, Queen Elizabeth, 92, does not need a driver’s license to get behind the wheel, a privilege she enjoys as the country’s sovereign. She learned to drive in 1945, according to the BBC, and has been seen driving regularly since.


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