London - Prince Philip will continue to drive on the Queen’s private estates, despite giving up his driving licence following last month’s horrific crash.
Buckingham Palace said on Sunday that if 97-year-old Philip chooses to drive on private land then it would be in ‘accordance with all relevant regulations’.
Royal sources later disclosed that they had heard nothing to suggest that he would not be driving on estates such as Sandringham in Norfolk, where the accident that injured two women occurred, Balmoral in the Highlands and Windsor in Berkshire.
Sandringham is 20 000 acres, Balmoral around 50 000 and the Queen’s private park at Windsor is 655 acres.
Someone who is driving on private property with the owner’s permission does not need a licence to do so. But it is likely that estate staff will have to carefully lay out the parameters of exactly where the Duke of Edinburgh is allowed to drive.
All the Queen’s estates are criss-crossed by footpaths and minor roads, meaning he could inadvertently break the law if he is not careful. A palace spokesman did not deny the suggestion that Philip would continue to get behind the wheel and told the Daily Mail: "If the Duke does drive on private land in future this will, of course, be in accordance with all relevant regulations."
On Saturday, Buckingham Palace announced that he had taken the decision to ‘voluntarily surrender’ his driving licence. A source insisted it was ‘entirely’ Philip’s decision to do so.
Some lawyers suggested at the time of the accident that doing this could help the Queen’s husband avoid prosecution.
But on Saturday Norfolk Police said the investigation into his crash has led to a file being submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service, which will decide whether he should be charged with an offence.
In the worst-case Philip faces a magistrates court appearance on a charge of driving without due care and attention, which carries a maximum £5 000 fine.
The CPS said: "We review each file carefully before a decision is made and will take this development into account."
Philip has admitted in a letter that he was dazzled by sunlight as he drove his Land Rover Freelander out of the Sandringham Estate on January 17 onto a busy main road, colliding with a Kia carrying two women and a baby. His vehicle overturned, but miraculously he was unhurt, although he was later taken to hospital for a check-up.
But the 28-year-old driver of the Kia suffered cuts to her knee and her passenger, Emma Fairweather, 46, was left with a broken wrist. The driver’s nine-month-old baby was unhurt.
There was widespread criticism when, two days after the crash, Philip was seen driving a replacement car without a seat belt on a public road, for which he was given a warning by police.
The Queen brightened up a rain-soaked day when she went to church on the Sandringham estate yesterday in a vivid yellow outfit with a matching hat.
But she needed a camel coloured raincoat to protect her from the elements as she visited 16th century St Mary Madgalene church. Philip was not with her.Daily Mail