LONDON — Prince Philip, the 97-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain, has apologized to a woman who was injured in a car crash he was involved in this month, British news outlets reported on Sunday.
The Duke of Edinburgh sent an apology letter to Emma Fairweather, who sustained a broken wrist when his Land Rover hit the Kia minivan in which she was traveling near the royal estate of Sandringham on Jan. 17.
In the note, written on Sandringham stationery and dated Jan. 21, the duke said he was “deeply sorry” and wished Ms. Fairweather a “speedy recovery.” He also acknowledged that the accident had left him “somewhat shaken,” a rare admission from a member of the royal family.
“I would like you to know how very sorry I am for my part in the accident at the Babingley crossroads,” Prince Philip said in the letter, acknowledging his share of responsibility. The note was first published online by The Sunday Mirror.
The crash flipped the armor-plated Land Rover that Prince Philip was driving, and the minivan careened off the road. Prince Philip and a 9-month-old child in the minivan were unhurt, but Ms. Fairweather broke her wrist and the driver of the minivan had cuts to her knee.
Some Britons expressed confusion over why the prince was driving, particularly at age 97. As for why he steered off the A149 road that Thursday, the prince reportedly told police officers that he had been “dazzled by the sun.”
He returned to that point in his letter to Ms. Fairweather. “It was a bright sunny day,” he wrote. “The sun was shining low over the main road.”
“In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming from the Dersingham direction,” he continued, as if to address the debate about older drivers in Britain. “But I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences.”
Ms. Fairweather had previously expressed dismay that Prince Philip had not personally apologized to her, saying in an interview with The Mirror two days after the accident, “He hasn’t even said sorry.”
At the time, she also disputed the duke’s claim that the sun had momentarily blinded him. “I can’t see how that could be true when it was overcast,” she said.
Since then, Ms. Fairweather has accepted the duke’s apology, calling his letter to her a “nice touch.” “He’s tried to give an explanation, so I appreciate that, whether I agree with it or not,” she told The Mirror.
While the four-paragraph letter was typed, Prince Philip addressed Ms. Fairweather by hand and signed the letter, a point that did not go unnoticed. “I thought it was really nice that he signed off as ‘Philip’ and not the formal title,” she told the British tabloid. “I was pleasantly surprised because of the personalized nature.”
Ms. Fairweather could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
“I wish you a speedy recovery from this very distressing experience,” Prince Philip wrote, signing off his letter.
Two days after the accident, Prince Philip was photographed driving another Land Rover outside the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk County in eastern England — this time without a seatbelt.