PICTURES: Prince Philip’s car overturns in crash near Sandringham
PUBLISHED: 07:47 18 January 2019 | UPDATED: 11:00 18 January 2019
The Duke of Edinburgh has been involved in a collision in which his car overturned.
The crash happened at around 3pm today on the A149 at Babingley, near King’s Lynn.
The Duke was the driver of the car and police said he had been breathalysed afterwards.
But they confirmed this was standard procedure.
Buckingham Palace said: “The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road traffic accident with another vehicle this afternoon.
“The Duke was not injured. The accident took place close to the Sandringham Estate. Local police attended the scene.”
Two vehicles were involved in the accident, which happened near the junction with the B1439.
Police said two people in one of the cars were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
The 97-year-old Duke’s Freelander overturned and came to rest on the driver’s side.
Eyewitnesses said the Duke was pulled from the car by passersby and although shocked and shaken, he was uninjured.
One person told the BBC: “I was just going down the A149 … and saw a lot of blue flashing lights ahead. I saw a black, 4x4 type car on its side and me and my son were like ‘oh my word, that doesn’t look good’.
“Luckily it was just sort of on the side of the road, the road wasn’t closed in any way.
“Obviously it looked quite smashed in. I’m quite amazed he [the duke] is okay actually.”
While Nick Cobb, who lives in the village, was driving past with his daughter Emily when they spotted the car around 100 yards from their home.
He told the BBC it was “on its side on a private road”.
He said: “The other car was well into the hedge on the opposite side of the road.
“There was lots of debris in the road, lots of glass and lots of other cars, some police cars, some from the Sandringham Estate and about six ordinary looking cars that looked as though they had stopped to help.”
Earlier tonight the car and the other vehicle involved, a Kia, were taken away by recovery truck.
The main road through the Royal Estate remained open while police cleared the crash scene and an ambulance treated those injured.
There was a large police presence at the scene, which is near the Orthodox Church of St Mary and St Felix, known locally as the tin church.
One man living opposite said: “We didn’t hear the bang or anything. The first we knew was when we saw it on the news.”
The female driver of the other car suffered cuts and her female passenger sustained an arm injury, both needed hospital treatment.
Both have since been discharged.
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, tweeted with good wishes for the Duke.
He said: “Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness. We humbly beseech thee to bless Philip Duke of Edinburgh. Endue him with thy Holy Spirit; enrich him with thy Heavenly Grace; prosper him with all happiness; and bring him to thine everlasting kingdom, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
The Duke, who retired from public life in May 2017, has not been seen in public since before Christmas. Palace officials have insisted there are no concerns regarding his health.
It is not clear how the crash happened. County councillors meet tomorrow to decide whether average speed cameras should be installed to cut accidents on the stretch of road where the crash occurred.
There are also calls for the speed limit to be reduced to 50mph on the stretch through the Royal Estate.
Where is Babingley?
Babingley is a tiny village on the Sandringham estate near King’s Lynn.
It has a 14th century, tin-roofed British Orthodox church, the Church of St Mary and St Felix, which is said to be the site of the first Christian church to be built in Norfolk and a 19th century mission church.
One of the lesser known stories of the village surrounds its signpost, showing a wooden beaver being knighted. Legend has it this is down to the rescue of St Felix of Burgundy, Apostle to the East Angles, from the Babingley River, by a colony of beavers that dragged him to safety. To show his gratitude for his life, St Felix consecrated the chief of the beavers, making him a Bishop.
At the junction where the minor road to West Newton meets the A149 main road, there is a base and broken shaft of a medieval stone boundary cross known as the Butler’s Cross, named after the Butler (Boteler in medieval spelling) family who held the manor of West Hall in Babingley from the mid 13th century.
From reporter Chris Bishop at the scene...
I drive the A149 virtually every day and know the crash could have been far more serious.
It appears to have happened as the Duke was pulling out of a side road, which joins a stretch of the coast road on a bend at the bottom of Knights Hill, where the speed limit is 60mph.
Land Rovers are tough vehicles. I know that as the owner of one. While Prince Philip’s car suffered severe damage to both sides, the car’s body shell did not buckle as it rolled over.
Freelanders also have a feature which may also have helped avoid a tragedy. Their doors lock automatically shortly after the driver pulls away from a standstill, so they could not have flown open as the car overturned.
The airbags in the car were clearly deployed – another safety feature which would have helped absorb the impact.
County councillors meet on Friday to discuss placing average speed cameras on that stretch of the A149 and reduce the speed limit to 50mph through the Royal Estate, although there is no suggestion speed may have played a part in the accident.