The Duke of Edinburgh’s crash ‘wouldn’t have happened’ had there been a royal protection officer in his Land Rover at the time, according to Princess Diana’s former bodyguard.
Ken Wharfe also said the royal family had all been told to wear seatbelts as the 97-year-old Duke faced renewed criticism after being spotted driving without one 48 hours after the crash on Thursday.
He told Good Morning Britain: ‘When the seat belt legislation came in every member of the royal family was told, “It’s the law, you have to wear a seat belt”.’
Ken Wharfe (right) spoke on GMB this morning about Philip’s accident alongside the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter
The Duke was entering the A149 from a side road when he was ‘blinded by sunlight’ and slammed into a Kia driven by 46-year-old Emma Fairweather, who had her baby on board. Philip’s 4×4 rolled onto its side, while the Kia was also badly damaged.
It is understood the security team followed in a car behind and arrived ‘very quickly’, but only once Philip had been dragged to safety from his written-off Land Rover.
But Mr Wharfe, who served in the Met for 35 years, said royals should always have a bodyguard next to them outside their private estates, although the Duke had a reputation for giving his a runaround.
‘The point I would make is, had the protection officer been in the car is this wouldn’t have happened,’ he told GMB.
Philip escaped the crash without injury, although Ms Fairweather required hospital treatment for their injuries. The baby miraculously escaped unhurt.
The Duke was given an official warning by police on Thursday after he was spotted driving without a seatbelt, just 48 hours after the crash.
Mr Wharfe said Philip had been told to use the security precaution but had a history of ignoring advice.
‘It is very hard to communicate with him,’ he said. ‘When I was a protection officer you had that longevity of service which meant you could speak to him directly.
‘What worries me is that there’s a 97-year-old man who was involved in a near fatal accident and then has the audacity to do this.
‘There’s very little public support for him in this and rightly so.’
The Duke was given an official warning by police on Thursday after he was spotted driving without a seatbelt, just 48 hours after the crash
Dickie Arbiter, the Queen’s press spokesman until 2000, was also on the show.
He said: ‘You’d think somebody who was mature would know to wear a seat belt. There is an element of arrogance and that shouldn’t be allowed to happen.
‘What is happening now, probably, is that the Queen is telling him to wear a seat belt and so are the other members of the royal family.
It comes as the family of the teacher who was involved in the crash with her baby said the pair were ‘lucky to be alive’.
A relative said Ellie Townsend, 28, was left ‘very shaken’ after the Duke of Edinburgh’s Land Rover crashed into her Kia near the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk.
Mrs Townsend’s mother Deborah, 58, added that the family do not blame the Duke of Edinburgh, 97, for the crash and they are focusing on getting through the ‘traumatic ordeal.’
Ellie Townsend, 28, was injured in the crash, while her nine-year-old baby was unhurt. She is seen in an undated image
The family’s words came as royal courtiers finally got a goodwill message to the car crash victims last night – three days late.
The relative told the Sun: ‘She’s just still very shaken and wants to spend time with her son and husband Shaun. The pair of them are lucky to be alive.’
Amid mounting anger at Prince Philip’s failure to apologise to the two women injured, Buckingham Palace said contact had at last been made.
After a farcical failure to get in touch last week, the Queen’s private office scrambled to make amends over the weekend by trying to call the victims, yet was still unable to confirm if the duke had actually apologised.
The women and a nine-month-old baby survived when Philip drove into the path of their car, sending his Land Rover somersaulting.
Emma Fairweather, whose wrist was broken in the horror crash , said on Sunday: ‘I’m lucky to be alive and he hasn’t even said sorry. It has been such a traumatic and painful time and I would have expected more of the Royal Family.’
She also revealed that she is considering a personal injury claim, after being told she ‘could face two months off work’, according to the Sunday Mirror.
The duke took delivery of a new Land Rover less than 24 hours after the crash, and on Saturday he was back behind the wheel. Astonishingly, he was not wearing a seatbelt, earning him a rebuke from police.
Last night the Daily Mirror reported that it was Mary Morrison, the Queen’s lady-in-waiting, who contacted Miss Fairweather. The paper said the 81-year-old left a message stating: ‘Hello, I’m ringing from Sandringham House.