Last month, 97 year-old Prince Philip was in a serious car crash as he drove near the royal estate in Sandringham. Weeks later, he finally broke his silence about the matter to send a letter of apology to the mother of two who was left injured in the wreck.
On January 17, Prince Philip was driving a Land Rover Freelander when it hit a Kia carrying two women and a nine-month-old baby. Emma Fairweather was left with a broken wrist in the accident, and in his apology letter to her, Philip wrote that he had been “dazzled by the sun.”
Philip went on to say that he had driven across the road “any number of times” and that he would have no trouble driving on it under normal conditions.
Philip also said that he was “deeply sorry” for the accident and wished Emma a “speedy recovery.”
“I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident at the Babingley cross-roads,” the Duke of Edinburgh wrote. “I have been across that crossing any number of times and I know very well the amount of traffic that uses that main road. It was a bright sunny day and at about three in the afternoon, the sun was low over the Wash.”
“In other words, the sun was shining low over the main road. In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming from the Dersingham direction, but I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences. I was somewhat shaken after the accident, but I was greatly relieved that none of you were seriously injured.
As a crowd was beginning to gather, I was advised to return to Sandringham House by a local police officer. I have since learned that you suffered a broken arm. I am deeply sorry about this injury. I wish you a speedy recovery from a very distressing experience.”
Though Emma had previously called for Philip to be prosecuted if police find him responsible for the crash, she admitted she was touched by the letter.
“I thought it was really nice that he signed off as ‘Philip’ and not the formal title. I was pleasantly surprised because of the personalised nature,” she said. “A lot of people said it was unrealistic that I wanted that human kindness from Prince Philip – which is what I saw this letter as.”
Both Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles have reportedly asked Philip to stop driving over the years, but he has refused to do so. It remains to be seen if he will continue driving in the coming months, but it should be noted that he was spotted out driving just days after the crash.