London: Prince Philip, the 97-year-old husband of British Queen Elizabeth II, has voluntarily surrendered his driving licence, weeks after the duke miraculously escaped unhurt in a terrifying accident that injured two women in another car.
"After careful consideration the Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving licence," Buckingham Palace said in a brief statement. He surrendered his licence on Saturday, the palace said.
The Prince's decision to hand over his driving licence was entirely his own and he will be driven from now on, it added.
The move means the royal is likely to escape being charged and prosecuted for careless driving after injuring two women in a crash outside the Queen's Sandringham estate in Norfolk on January 17.
Norfolk Police confirmed that the duke had surrendered his licence to officers and it would now be returned to the DVLA.
"We will follow the standard procedure and return the licence to the DVLA. The investigation file for the collision has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)," a Norfolk Police spokesperson said.
The CPS said it would take the latest development into account. It is believed that bringing a prosecution over the crash will not be deemed in the public interest.
Officers from local Norfolk Police have been investigating the crash since January 17, when the Duke pulled out of a side road onto the main road and collided with a Hyundai Kia driven by Ellie Townsend.The impact of the crash flipped his Land Rover onto its side. Townsend, a 28-year-old teacher, suffered cuts to her knee, while her friend and passenger Emma Fairweather, 46, broke her wrist. Townsend's nine-month-old son escaped without injury.
Though Philip was unhurt, the accident stirred up a debate in the UK about old age and driving and raised questions over the duke still driving himself on public roads.
Two days after the accident, the duke was pictured back behind the wheel of the new Land Rover without a seatbelt, which is illegal in Britain.
Later, Norfolk Police gave him "suitable words of advice".
Philip, who formally retired from public life in 2017, has been seen behind the wheels on numerous occasions over the decade.
The Duke later sent a note to Fairweather apologising for his part in the accident.
"I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident," he wrote.
"The sun was shining low over the main road. In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming... but I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences." At present, there is no upper age limit for driving in the UK. However, a person's driving licence expires once he or she reaches the age of 70.
If the licence expires and they fail to renew it, then they legally are not allowed to drive. But if they apply for a renewal they may continue.(PTI)