Prince Philip car crash: Duke of Edinburgh tells victim he is ‘deeply sorry’ in apology letter

'Contrite' Duke repeats admission he could not see traffic because of low sun

Sunday 27 January 2019 14:04
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Cars removed from scene after Prince Philip is involved in road traffic accident close to Sandringham Estate

The Duke of Edinburgh has told a mother of two that he is deeply sorry after she was injured in a car crash he was involved in.

Prince Philip, 97, escaped injury on 17 January when the Land Rover Freelander he was driving collided with another vehicle as he pulled out of a driveway on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk on to a busy A road.

The Prince's car flipped over in the crash, after he was apparently dazzled by the low sun. He was initially trapped and had to be rescued by a passing motorist.

The other vehicle involved, a Kia, was carrying a nine-month-old baby boy, his mother who was driving, and Emma Fairweather as a passenger.

The baby was unhurt, but both women had to be treated in hospital.

Ms Fairweather, who broke her wrist, called for the Duke to be prosecuted if found to be at fault.

In a letter to Ms Fairweather dated 21 January, Philip wished her a speedy recovery and said he failed to see the car coming.

The note, reported by the Sunday Mirror, said: "I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident at the Babingley cross-roads.

"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."

The letter is signed "Yours sincerely, Philip".

Ms Fairweather, 46, told the Sunday Mirror she was chuffed with the letter, and said: "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.

"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."

Ms Fairweather had previously complained that while the Queen, who had no involvement in the accident, had been in contact through a lady-in-waiting, she had not had any direct communication with the Duke.

It is understood a similar letter was sent to the driver of the Kia.

Philip was photographed driving without a seatbelt 48 hours after the crash.

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