After Prince Philip’s traffic collision yesterday, the royal’s health wasn’t the only thing in question. Why, when members of the royal family presumably have access to private planes, trains, and automobiles — all with their own pilots and chauffers — would Philip deign to drive his own Range Rover around Sandringham estate? According to royal experts, it’s not about taking advantage of privilege, many royals, the Queen herself included, just like the independence that comes with driving themselves.
CNN reports that while Philip wasn’t hurt in his accident yesterday, he was “obviously shaken.” The outlet notes that he’s “famously independent,” so it makes sense that he’d want to eschew the chauffeurs. Even when he and the other royals opt to drive, they’re not out on the road by themselves. CNN notes that there’s always a security detail following along. Die-hard royal watchers will remember that back when President Barack Obama visited the U.K. back in 2016, Philip actually picked him up.
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Philip’s not the only one, reports state that the Queen (who doesn’t have a drivers’ license, by the way) took the King of Saudi Arabia for a scenic spin around her Scottish estate. And it runs in the family, too. Prince William still has a motorcycle and when Prince George was born back in 2013, he drove Kate Middleton and the new arrival home himself.
“There are times when you can’t do it yourself and the system takes over or it’s appropriate to do things differently. But, I think driving your son and your wife away from hospital was really important to me,” he said at the time. “And I don’t like fuss so it’s much easier to just do it yourself.”
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Duncan Larcombe, noted biographer and royal correspondent for The Sun, told Town & Country that the simple act of driving makes the royal family feel a little bit more normal. Anyone who drives knows just how private a car feels, so it’s just one way the family can get away from the spotlight.
“The Queen in her 90s is still driving. She’s been photographed driving a very old Land Rover around her estate in Scotland in the summer,” Larcombe said. “It’s probably that sense of freedom.”
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