Buckingham Palace has released a statement announcing that Prince Philip has decided to "surrender his driving license"

By Maria Pasquini and Simon Perry
February 09, 2019 03:58 PM
Prince Philip
| Credit: Carl De Souza/Getty

Prince Philip will no longer be getting behind the wheel.

Three weeks following his Jan. 17 car crash, Buckingham Palace announced that the 97-year-old royal has “voluntarily” decided to give up his driver’s license.

“After careful consideration The Duke of Edinburgh has taken the decision to voluntarily surrender his driving licence,” read the statement, which was issued on Saturday.

Friend and biographer Gyles Brandreth previously told PEOPLE that Philip would reluctantly accept that he has to give up driving in public if he was advised to do so.

“He is a pragmatist and a realist and I’m sure he will accept that while possibly muttering under his breath,” Brandreth told PEOPLE.

Prince Philip
| Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty

The news that Philip would be surrendering his license came two weeks after he sent an apology letter to a woman who suffered a broken wrist from the crash, which occurred near the royal family’s Sandringham Estate.

“Dear Mrs. Fairweather,” Philip began the note, which Emma Fairweather, 46, provided to the Sunday Mirror. “I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident at the Babingley cross-roads.”

Queen Elizabeth‘s husband went on to explain that “the sun was shining low over the main road,” adding, “in normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming from the Dersingham direction, but I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences.”

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“I was somewhat shaken after the accident, but I was greatly relieved that none of you were seriously injured,” he wrote, mentioning the 28-year-old driver who suffered cuts to her knee and her 9-month-old baby in the backseat, who was uninjured.

Philip also wished Fairweather a “speedy recovery from a very distressing experience.”

“Your sincerely, Philip,” he concluded the note.

Emma Fairweather and Prince Philip
| Credit: Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock; Gareth Fuller - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Fairweather, who had previously spoken out about how disappointed she was over the lack of an immediate apology, went on to tell the Sunday Mirror how much she appreciated the note.

“I thought it was really nice that he signed off as ‘Philip’ and not the formal title. I was pleasantly surprised because of the personalised nature,” she said, adding, “He’s tried to give an explanation so I appreciate that, whether I agree with it or not.”

Fairweather has previously denied that it was sunny on the day of the accident, telling Great Britain’s This Morning that she remembered the weather being “miserable and overcast.”

“I would never want to put myself in a position where I would say that the Duke is not being honest. But I do not recall that that day was sunny. That’s all I can say. That’s not the day that I had,” she remarked.

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Philip walked away from the accident uninjured after flipping his Land Rover following a collision with a Kia. On doctor’s advice, he visited the hospital on the morning after the crash for a “precautionary check-up.”

“His Royal Highness had no injuries of concern. The Duke has returned to Sandringham,” a palace spokesperson said.

Philip also received an eyesight test, which he passed, according to a police spokesperson.

The Queen’s husband was seen driving in the area just two days after the crash, operating a replacement Land Rover on a public road without his seatbelt fastened.