When the Duke of Edinburgh was rescued from his overturned Land Rover on Thursday, an eyewitness heard him to shout “I’m such a fool.” I’m sorry to say that I couldn’t agree more, Your Royal Highness, not because you are still driving, or because you were involved in such an unfortunate accident – but because a mere 48 hours later you took to the wheel again without wearing a seatbelt.
It is not exactly unprecedented for a member of The Royal Family to be involved in a serious car accident. From the Duke of Edinburgh’s crash at Sandringham, to the 1997 crash in Paris which saw Diana, Princess of Wales lose her life.
In the latter case, experts agree that if Diana were wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash she would have most likely survived.
One would have thought that after being involved in such a severe accident at Sandringham on Thursday, it would have been enough to put anybody off driving for a while.
But as I said earlier, this isn’t about returning to driving. Lots of people are involved in road traffic accidents through no fault of their own – it happens. The problem is the blatant disregard shown when a seatbelt isn’t worn.
It is simply inexcusable.
I’m glad to see that the police have spoken to the Duke on this matter and hope that in the future he will wear a seatbelt at all times.
The same goes for The Queen. She was also spotted driving on a public road this week without a seatbelt.
Now, nothing can be done about this legally. She cannot be prosecuted, and indeed doesn’t even need a driving licence. But she and the Duke of Edinburgh are there to set an example.
If Carol from Carlisle sees The Queen and Prince Philip driving without a seatbelt, she might decide that is a good idea, only to later die in a car crash.
The Royal Family’s website says: “The Queen is careful to ensure that all her activities in her personal capacities are carried out in strict accordance with the law.”
Let’s hope that from now on The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh follow every letter of the law.
It is not trivial. It is not amusing. It is dangerous and sets a bad example.