At age 97, Prince Philip has voluntarily agreed to surrender his driver’s license, Buckingham Palace announced on Feb. 9.
The Duke of Edinburgh has been widely criticized over the past few weeks after he was involved in a car crash on Jan. 17.
The duke was not injured, but a passenger in the vehicle involved in the crash, Emma Fairweather, broke her wrist.
To make matters worse, Philip was photographed just two days after the accident driving a replacement Land Rover Freelander without wearing a seatbelt.
While admitting that it’s time to stop driving is a difficult pill to swallow, the Duke of Edinburgh made the decision to give up his license.
“After careful consideration, the Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving license,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement.
Norfolk Police confirmed that Philip has already handed over his license and that officers would return it to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
According to Buckingham Palace, Philip made the decision on his own after carefully considering the string of events over the past few weeks.
“The duke is reported to have acknowledged that the collision last month was his fault,” said BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond.
“There was a fair deal of criticism of his decision to drive just two days after the crash. Now he has chosen to give up some of his independence and will have a driver from this point on.”
Royal biographer Hugo Vickers said that at Philip’s age, any type of vehicle collision would stir the pot.
“Any kind of car accident at the age of 97 is likely to produce shock,” Vickers told BBC News.
“Some years ago he gave up flying planes long before he needed to because he was scared that if something happened there would be a lot of criticism.”
“You know, why was he, at the age of 55, still flying a plane when he should have retired at 48 or something like that,” Vickers said.
“So he does listen to these things — he’s very, very sensible.”
Philip sent a personal apology to Fairweather within days of the accident, which seemed to help ease Fairweather’s outrage.
“I thought it was really nice that he signed off as ‘Philip’ and not the formal title,” she told the Sunday Mirror. “I was pleasantly surprised because of the personalized nature.”
Fairweather told the Mirror that she will need surgery on her wrist, and is expected to be out of work until April.
Fairweather also plans to pursue a personal injury claim against the Duke, the Mirror reported.
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