England's Prince Philip, the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is lucky to be alive and uninjured after rolling his Land Rover Freelander in a two-car crash that sent the royal SUV "tumbling" across the road on Thursday, according to the BBC.
Prince Philip was driving his Land Rover by himself on public roads near the royal Sandringham estate in rural eastern England when the accident occurred around 2:45pm. Though the investigation is still ongoing, the Daily Mail reports that officials believe the duke crossed into the path of an oncoming car carrying two women and a nine-month-old baby as he pulled onto the 60-mph A149 from a dead stop.
The force of the crash caused the Freelander to roll at least once and land on its side near the edge of the road. A witness who helped Prince Philip out of the toppled SUV told the BBC that he appeared shaken but unhurt, which a doctor later confirmed. The two adults in the Kia weren't so lucky—police say the driver received cuts on her knee, while the passenger broke her wrist. Thankfully, the baby was uninjured.
Ominously, that same witness also told the BBC that he overheard the duke telling police that he was "dazzled by the sun." It's true that direct sunlight can dramatically reduce your visibility behind the wheel—but it's also true that such dangers are greatly compounded with age.
Really, it's an open question as to whether any 97-year old should be driving, even in a lightly-armored SUV. British law requires drivers over the age of 70 to renew their licenses every three years; Buckingham Palace confirmed that Prince Philip has a current driver's license but wouldn't say when he last took the test. The Daily Mail spoke to a former bodyguard for Princess Diana who said that the duke should have also had a royal protection officer along on such an excursion.
If there's any conversation about Prince Philip giving up the keys, he's not hearing it: photographers spotted a fresh Land Rover Freelander identical to the wrecked model being delivered to the royal estate on Friday.