Britain’s Prince Philip has apologized to a woman left injured after his car accident earlier this month, blaming the crash on sunlight that obscured his view and admitting he was “shaken” by the incident.
Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, wrote a letter to Emma Fairweather, who suffered a broken arm when her car collided with the 97-year-old’s Land Rover on a public road near the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England.
“I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident,” Philip wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the UK’s Sunday Mirror newspaper. A Buckingham Palace spokesperson confirmed to CNN that the letter was sent by Philip.
“I have been across that crossing any number of times and I know very well the amount of traffic that uses that main road,” the Duke of Edinburgh wrote, blaming the incident on bright sunlight.
“The sun was shining low over the main road,” Philip wrote. “In normal conditions I would have no difficult 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.”
Fairweather told the Mirror she recalls the day being overcast, but said she was grateful for the apology. The letter is dated January 21, three days after the crash occurred.
The accident left the Duke’s car flipped onto its side, with a witness later telling the Press Association that he helped pull a bloodied Philip from the vehicle.
Fairweather was a passenger in the other car, alongside the 28-year-old driver, who suffered cuts to her knee, and a nine-month-old baby boy who was unharmed.
“I was somewhat shaken after the accident, but I was greatly relieved that none of you were seriously injured,” Philip added. “I have since learned that you suffered a broken arm. I am deeply sorry about this injury.
“As a crowd was beginning to gather, I was advised to return to Sandringham House by a local Police Officer,” he adds.
Philip was criticized after he was pictured driving on a public road without a seatbelt just 48 hours after the crash, while Fairweather had earlier told the Mirror that she had not heard from the Duke in the days immediately following the incident.
She told the newspaper after receiving the letter: “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.”
The incident dominated British media and led to a public debate about whether people over a certain age should have to retake their driving tests.
While the Queen is not required to hold a driving license, Philip is. A royal source told CNN after the crash that the prince has a license and follows all procedures required to keep it up to date.
He famously drove US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama from their helicopter on a visit to the UK in 2016, with the Queen in the back seat.