Prince Philip Was Reportedly 'Looking Into the Sun' Before Car Accident

The sun reportedly played a role in Prince Philip's car accident on Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II's former press secretary Dickie Arbiter told Us Weekly Friday.

"The road that the accident occurred on is notorious for accidents, all related to speed," Arbiter told the outlet. "Prince Philip had been on a smaller side road, going onto the bigger road, and was looking into the sun and obviously didn’t see the other car coming when he pulled out."

Arbiter added, “The local authorities are looking into lowering the speed limit because of the number of accidents.”

Although 97 years old, the Duke of Edinburgh was behind the wheel of his new Range Rover during the accident. Arbiter said the incident might change Philip's driving routine.

“I think Prince Philip will be very cautious going forward,” he told Us Weekly. “Perhaps if the sun is shining bright in his eyes, Prince Philip will ask his protection officer to drive.”

Arbiter, who worked for the Queen from 1988 to 2000, said Queen Elizabeth would not ask the prince to stop driving or "even suggest it."

“Queen Elizabeth doesn’t tell Prince Philip what to do; she never has. Nor has Prince Philip told her ever what to do. The queen wouldn’t dare ask him that. He has never had an accident before," Arbiter said. "They are both extremely independent people. It’s his decision to make, if he should stop driving."

The accident happened around 3 p.m. local time Thursday. He was reportedly pulling out of the royal family's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk to get on the main road. His black Range Rover overturned, and eyewitnesses at the scene helped the Duke get out of the vehicle. Kensington Palace confirmed Philip was involved in an accident, and "was not injured."

The two women in the other vehicle Philip's struck were treated for minor injuries. Philip reportedly reached out to the women and had a good meeting.

The Duke has mostly stayed out of the public eye since retiring from royal engagements in 2017. He was not seen with the royal family's Christmas Day service at Sandringham last month. In April, he had a hip replacement operation and reportedly suffered a cracked rib during a fall before Prince Harry's wedding to Meghan Markle in May. Despite being in pain, he still attended the ceremony.

“He is 97 – and still walking without a stick, still carriage driving and still living his life his way," the Prince's biographer, Gyles Brandreth, told PEOPLE. "I’m sure this morning, as well as being grateful he’s survived, he will be concerned for the other people involved and shaken by this experience.”


Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth married in 1947. Five years later, Elizabeth was crowned queen after the death of her father, King George VI.

Photo credit: Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images