Prince Philip will ‘voluntarily’ give up his driver’s license, one month after his crash

The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh attend Royal Windsor Cup

Last month, Prince Philip, a 97 year old man who really appears to be hard of hearing and half-blind, caused a a very bad car accident. He crashed into a Kia which was carrying two women and a baby, and all of the Kia’s passengers got medical attention to varying degrees. The Duke pulled through rather easily with just cuts and bruises, and he was back at home at Sandringham within an hour, and a shiny new Land Rover was delivered to Sandringham immediately.

An utter PR catastrophe commenced around the accident in the weeks that followed – one of the crash victims kept giving interviews about the heartless, silent royals, and Philip kept being seen driving around without a seatbelt. People kept talking about Philip’s history as an unsafe driver too. Finally, Philip sent a personal letter of apology to the other driver, in which he insinuated that she was at fault too. I’m telling you, a complete PR disaster. Anyway, it’s only just NOW that Philip has finally decided that he has no business behind the wheel. He’s “voluntarily” giving up his driver’s license.

The Duke of Edinburgh is to voluntarily give up his driving licence, Buckingham Palace has said. It comes after the 97-year-old duke apologised over a car crash near the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, in which his Land Rover Freelander landed on its side after a collision with a Kia. Two days later Norfolk Police gave him “suitable words of advice” after he was pictured driving without a seat belt.

Buckingham Palace said that he surrendered his licence on Saturday. In a statement, the palace said: “After careful consideration the Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving licence.” Norfolk Police confirmed that the duke had surrendered his licence to officers and it would now be returned to the DVLA.

[From BBC]

I don’t really know how it happens across the pond, but the whole “voluntarily giving up one’s license” thing is a bit more metaphoric. It involves a conversation with an elderly person about how they have no business behind the wheel, and most importantly, it involves taking away someone’s keys. I mean, sure, Philip doesn’t have a physical, tangible license anymore. But he still has access to a fleet of Land Rovers, Jaguars and Bentleys, and I’m guessing he’ll still slip away and drive sometimes.

Princess of Eugenie of York and Mr Jack Brooksbank Wedding

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31 Responses to “Prince Philip will ‘voluntarily’ give up his driver’s license, one month after his crash”

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  1. Elisabeth says:

    He doesn’t need a license to drive on private grounds, so I’m sure he’ll keep driving around the estates, but at least he won’t be endangering civilians anymore!

  2. xdanix says:

    Hmmm…. I could be wrong about this but did I read a comment on here on another piece about Philip’s crash from someone saying that it was quite likely that to avoid any prosecution he’d need to give up his license, as that’s how they often handle these cases when the person is older?

    (I might not be putting the right words to it, but I could swear I remember reading something like that.)

    • spidee!!! says:

      You are absolutely right xdanix – it is often the case in the UK that if a very old driver has an accident the police won’t prosecute if the driver agrees to give up their licence. I do believe this case has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration of a prosecution.

      • Lunde says:

        This is often the case in the UK when there are accidents involving elderly people without previous convictions. Voluntarily surrendering his driving licence means that the CPS may use its discretion regarding whether to prosecute or not. It is also possible that his insurers have refused to continue to cover him driving on public roads.

      • xdanix says:

        Thank you both :) I was pretty sure I had read something like that on here, but have no legal knowledge (and am not in the UK) so didn’t like to say for certain!

  3. Elisa says:

    I’m surprised he gave up his license – I wonder what kind of leverage was used. Anyways, it’s a good thing he is no longer driving on public roads. And he can still cruise around on private grounds as much as he likes.

    • Jane says:

      However, there could be a problem with him driving (if he so chooses) at Windsor Castle. People come to Windsor Castle when it is open to the public from 10:00-5:00 (ish). If he is not careful, he could injure a person roaming the grounds. Balmoral Castle and perhaps Edinburgh Castle might be safer because of visitor limitations. All-in-all, he should just STOP driving all together.

  4. Elena says:


  5. Svea says:

    This is sad for him. I well remember when my father finally agreed to stop driving. It’s such a symbol of losing capacity and independence. Very hard for a man. With my mother we had to disconnect the battery. Then she’d con her neighbors into reconnecting it and away she’d go.

    • Lunde says:

      Well Prince Phillip has a full staff, not to mention a team of Royal Protection Officers who will be happy to drive him anywhere – so I doubt that he will need to apply for his pensioner’s bus pass!

      • LadyT says:

        The big issue is that losing independence as an elder is difficult and sad, the topic is driving. I think people are missing the distinction.

      • Lady D says:

        I had a new resident at the home last week. He’s 94 and for almost 2 hours his questions consisted of why am I here, how did I get here, how do I get out, while we played crib. At the same time this gentleman was adding up my crib hands before I had set the hand down. He seems alert and bright, but also in a very distressed frame of mind. He just wanted to go home. It’s hard to watch seniors go through this, especially if they start crying and begging you to take them home. It’s usually only for 2-3 days max, but it hurts the heart watching them understand their new reality.

      • LadyT says:

        Bless you for lending an empathetic ear. I’m sure it helped him.

    • jan90067 says:

      I’m going through this with my 91 yr. old dad. He has said he “wants to give it up on his own” rather than because he couldn’t pass the test. And he actually passed his written test to renew his license!!! No PHYSICAL driving test though (which I think is INSANE for ANYONE over the age of 80-85!!). I fight with him constantly about taking the car out (thank God he rarely has done so in the last 6 mos., maybe 2-3 times). He truly feels like it would take away his last vestige of independence, to have to rely on me for everything. (He won’t get a smartphone, so he can’t Uber). He keeps saying, “Let me go!” on errands and such, and it breaks my heart, but I refuse to let him; I tell him it’s my turn to give him a break and do for him.

      But yeah.. for men it seems particularly hard. Sigh.. I know I’m in for a HUGE fight about this soon.

      • justwastingtime says:

        I am sorry, Jan90067, that is so difficult.

        My mother is going through this as well, she has been in the hospital four times in the last few years (broken bones, hip replacement, cardiac events) every time she recovers her goal is to get back behind the wheel as soon as possible. My father is now legally blind and also is in poor health, so he can’t do it but he is good with all things tech and uses his phone and Uber etc.

        They have a daily caretaker to run errands for them but my mother hates tech and doesn’t like any of the very nice people who have done the job – she just wants to be independent and get those people the hell out of her house.

        It sucks being old Like you, I feel terrible telling her she can’t drive anymore, but this is it.

      • Snappyfish says:

        On my father in laws 90th birthday he went to DMV (went to the wrong one because he didn’t know where he was or how to get home) I found him there and waiting with him hoping that they wouldn’t allow him to drive & I could take him home. They called his name, made him look into the view finder to administer the eye test & then gave him a new 5 year license. I was shocked. I explained (not in his presence) that he has no idea how to get home. Their response was that isn’t ‘our area of authority’! It was insane. I ended up driving him everywhere by saying how much I liked driving his car. It was maddening. There needs to be an age limit. One must wait until they are 16 to drive. There should also be an end date. Cognitive tests should go into play at an advanced age as well so all are safe.

    • Mac says:

      Getting my mother in law to give up her car was so difficult. She had severe arthritis and her reflexes were so poor we, and, everyone else in her life, literally begged her not to drive to no avail.

      We only won the argument when the steps in her home became too much for her and she agreed to move to an assisted living community. We deliberately chose an assisted living community with on demand car service to ensure she never again got behind the wheel. Even then, it was a year before she agreed to sell her car.

      Fortunately, she was not able to drive during that year because my husband had hidden the car keys and we knew she would never ask about them for fear we would think her memory was going. We feel badly that we had to manipulate her into not driving, but the risk to others was just too great.

  6. RoyalBlue says:

    Thank God. Good sense prevails.

  7. Cindy says:

    Im just surprised to find out he drove himself? He has all the means to get a private chauffer.

  8. Aerohead21 says:

    Next headline: Prince Philip arrested for doing as he damn well pleases!

    Yeah, PR is why he’s doing it. No older person, royal or not, looks upon the day of giving up a piece of their freedom fondly. Willingly maybe. Fondly, I don’t know…

  9. JRenee says:

    I wish I could believe he came to his senses, however I don’t believe that to be the case. I hope he stops driving period.

  10. Sassy says:

    Someone forgot to tell him he’s been dead for a while, by the looks of him

  11. Sam says:

    Yeah, but what about his motorcycle license?

  12. Amelie says:

    I read somewhere (People maybe?) he sent a note apologizing for his role in the accident to the woman in the other car with the baby. She said she was happy to receive the note even she didn’t necessarily agree with his assertion that the sun “blinded him” momentarily causing the accident (which he included in his letter). She said the weather was gray and overcast. You can easily check the weather history online which I have not done but I’m guessing since his excuse can easily be debunked, it was easier to agree to stop driving to put an end to this story.

  13. dunn says:

    Prince Phillip looks like he died last week