How Prince Philip continues to remain active even in retirement

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent
The Duke of Edinburgh pictured at his final public engagement in August 2017 [Photo: PA]

The Duke of Edinburgh was left “shocked and shaken” following a road accident while driving close to the Sandringham estate on Thursday afternoon.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman confirmed that 97-year-old Prince Philip was driving a Land Rover when the accident involving a Kia happened. 

She added: “He saw a doctor as a precaution and the doctor confirmed he was not injured.”

The Duke has generally enjoyed good health well into his later years but he has had a number of health scares. 

MORE: Duke of Edinburgh car crash: Prince Philip ‘not injured’ after accident on Sandringham Estate

MORE: The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s 71 years of marriage in pictures

In December 2011 he was taken to hospital with chest pains and subsequently received treatment for a blocked coronary artery. 

During the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations in 2012, he was hospitalised for a bladder infection and on June 6 2013, Buckingham Palace announced he had been admitted to hospital for an exploratory operation on his abdomen and was expected to stay in the London Clinic for up to two weeks.

Prince Philip was involved in the crash on Thursday afternoon (PA, file pic)

In May 2014, Philip underwent a “minor procedure” and appeared in public with a bandage on his right hand.

He finally retired from public duties in summer 2017 at the age of 96, after having completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952. But the decision was not made for medical reasons, the duke simply wanted to enjoy more of his leisure time. 

Philip now divides his time between the Queen’s Sandringham estate, Balmoral and Windsor. Although he has missed significant public engagements, such as Trooping the Colour, it’s believed that he is still very active in his retirement and is reportedly responsible for the running of most of the Queen’s estates.

In April 2018, he was admitted to the King Edward VII for a planned hip replacement and was discharged the following day.

Just six weeks later he attended his grandson Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle and was also present at granddaughter Princess Eugenie’s nuptials in October 2018.

He was also photographed in the summer driving a carriage, although he has given up competing competitively with the horse-drawn transport.

Philip taking part in the Champagne Laurent-Perrier Meet of the British Driving Society at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2015 [Photo: PA]

But with the Queen’s consort in his 98th year, there may be calls from some for the duke to give up driving altogether. 

Philip’s eldest son Prince Charles has expressed concerns in the past over his father’s insistence to drive.

In 2014, when the duke was 94, Charles told one member of the public that he was “always worried.”

So is there an age restriction on driving licences?

Buckingham Palace has confirmed that Prince Philip does hold a driving licence.

A spokeswoman from the Palace told “Prince Philip followed all the usual DVLA practices.”

According to Age UK‘s website: “Once you reach the age of 70, your licence expires, but this doesn’t automatically mean you have to stop driving. You just need to renew your driving licence if you want to continue. You’ll need to renew it every 3 years after that.”

It goes on to advise that some medical conditions, such as dementia, Parkinson’s or conditions which affect the eyes, should be declared to the DVLA.

Having a medical condition doesn’t mean that a person will lose their licence, it may mean they could need help with adjusting or make adaptations to their car.

However, Age UK goes on to explain “Unfortunately, the DVLA can also tell you to stop driving, if you’re not fit to drive.”

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Young, predominantly male, drivers are much more likely to crash within six months of passing their test than older drivers within six months of hanging up their keys.

“Older drivers often self-restrict their driving by not driving at night and only driving on familiar roads.

“The decision to hang up your keys is a tough one but should be based on personal advice from your GP and family, rather than being based on some arbitrary age.”

Despite vowing to “slow down” when he turned 90, Prince Philip has continued to live his life seemingly to the full. Having always been fiercely independent, giving up driving and his active lifestyle may be a struggle for him.