Woman hit by Duchess of Edinburgh’s motorcade in a coma, family say

Helen Holland, 81, was visiting her sister in London at time of the crash, according to relatives

Andy Gregory
Saturday 13 May 2023 18:01 BST
<p>Helen Holland, from Birchanger, Essex, was visiting her sister in London on Wednesday</p>

Helen Holland, from Birchanger, Essex, was visiting her sister in London on Wednesday

An elderly woman hit by a police motorcade escorting the Duchess of Edinburgh is in a coma, her family have said.

Helen Holland, 81, from Essex, was visiting her older sister in London on Wednesday when she was struck by the motorbike at a junction in Earl’s Court at around 3.21pm, according to her relatives.

Her son Martin Holland and his wife Lisa-Marie said they were “shocked and sickened at her extensive injuries”.

“She is being well cared for by the NHS who we must thank deeply for their help in keeping her alive,” they told the BBC.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct has launched an investigation into the accident, while the Metropolitan Police department that investigates officers’ conduct has been informed, as is routine.

The family is “calling for a thorough investigation”, BBC News At Ten presenter Clive Myrie reported on Friday.

Duchess Sophie, who was being escorted through west London when the collision occurred, said on Thursday that her “heartfelt thoughts and prayers” were with Ms Holland, from Birchanger, and her family.

A short statement issued by Buckingham Palace said the duchess, who is married to the King’s brother Prince Edward, “is grateful for the swift response by the emergency services and will keep abreast of developments”.

The crash came days after the duchess attended the coronation

“Further comment at this time would not be appropriate while the incident is being investigated,” the palace statement added.

The crash took place at the junction of West Cromwell Road and Warwick Road. At a crossing, one local resident who witnessed the aftermath described it as “a nightmare”.

“She’s lucky to be alive at all,” Martin Hennessy, 62, who lives yards away from the scene, told the Daily Mirror. “The road is a nightmare. We’ve warned the council about it. There have been three people killed here.”

“When you get to the junction you have to step out to see if anything is coming, that’s when she was hit,” the retired antiques dealer said. “I came out to walk the dogs and that’s when I saw this thoroughfare. She’d been thrown across the road and the ambulance were treating her.”

The accident took place in Earl’s Court

Paramedics from the London Ambulance Service and London’s Air Ambulance both attended the scene on Wednesday.

The collision took place days after the Duchess, 58, celebrated the coronation over the weekend with the Duke of Edinburgh and other royals.

Sophie, formerly the Countess of Wessex, married Prince Edward in 1999. In March, the King handed him the Duke of Edinburgh title which previously belonged to their late father, Prince Philip.

Having grown very close to the late Queen Elizabeth II, the former public relations professional’s position in the royal family has become increasingly important since the departure of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

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