LONDON: Queen Elizabeth II’s 97-year-old husband Prince Philip visited hospital for “a precautionary check-up” on Friday that found “no injuries of concern” after a car crash the previous day that rolled the Land Rover he was driving.
“On doctor’s advice the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Queen Elizabeth hospital… this morning for a precautionary check-up,” a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman told AFP.
“This confirmed his royal highness had no injuries of concern,” she added, without specifying the extent of any minor injuries.
This contrasted with a statement from Buckingham Palace on Thursday that stated the prince “was not injured”.
The queen has issued no public comment about the crash.
The accident occurred near the queen’s Sandringham Estate in south east England, where the couple spend much of the winter.
A nine-month-old baby who was in the back seat of the other car, a Kia hatchback, was also uninjured, while one woman in the vehicle broke her wrist and the other cut her knee, local police said, stirring a debate in Britain Friday about old age and driving.
“We are aware of the public interest in this case, however, as with any other investigation it would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the collision until an investigation is carried out,” a police statement said.
Images published by the British media showed a dark Land Rover on its side by the curb, driver’s side down, its windscreen smashed, glass and metal debris scattered across a road running by a leafy park.
“I was driving home and I saw a car, a black (Land) Rover come out from a side road and it rolled,” witness Roy Warne told BBC Radio on Friday.
The Land Rover “was turning on its side over and over,” he told The Sun newspaper in a separate interview.
He said one of the two women in the Kia “was the mother of the child and she was quite upset”.
Philip and the other driver were given breath tests, which is standard police procedure. No alcohol was detected.
The accident made the headlines in most British papers.
“MY LEGS! MY LEGS!” The Sun splashed on its front page — the words Prince Philip reportedly “yelled” as he was pulled from the wreckage.
“I was blinded by the sun,” the paper quoted him as saying.
Love for speed
Philip, known for his forthright manner and off-colour jokes, retired from public life in 2017 and underwent a hip replacement operation last April.
Tall, slim and built like a retired serviceman, the former navy officer spends most of his time driving, gardening and enjoying family life at royal estates, according to Buckingham Palace.
He was last seen in public with the queen at Princess Eugenie’s wedding in October.
But he missed the royal family’s annual Christmas Day church service.
Known as the Duke of Edinburgh in Britain, Philip is also well-known for his love for speed.
The royal family website says the duke “learned to fly all type of aircraft”, passing a Royal Air Force test in 1953.
In 2016, alongside the queen, he drove former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle around Windsor Castle after they landed nearby in the presidential helicopter.
‘Age old debate’
The accident stirred up what The Sun described as Britain’s “age-old debate” about whether and when the elderly should give up driving.
The issue is especially sensitive in the case of the royals, with the Daily Mail noting: “There’s only one person who can tell him to stop driving. But will she dare?”
Official figures from November show 3,136 people in Great Britain aged 97 and over still hold driving licences.
The oldest were four people aged 107.
In Britain, licences expire when a person turns 70 and have to be renewed through a simple self-assessment test every three years.
The Daily Mail asked whether the duke would now “sacrifice one of his last indulgences”.
The BBC’s Jonny Dymond suggested that he might.
“It might be that the duke is about to be persuaded to give up the wheel.”