Prince Philip writes letter to car-crash victim, saying he is "very sorry"

/ CBS News

Prince Philip has written a letter to the woman injured in a car crash earlier this month involving the Land Rover he was driving, telling the woman he is "deeply sorry" for the incident.

"I was somewhat shaken after the accident, but I was greatly relieved that none of you were seriously injured," said the letter, which was published by London's Sunday Mirror newspaper.

Philip, 97, wished Emma Fairweather, 46, a speedy recovery in the letter, which she provided to the Mirror.

Fairweather suffered a broken arm in the Jan. 17 crash. Witness Roy Warne told BBC News the Land Rover driven by Philip was "tumbling" across the road before it "rolled and ended up on the other side of the road."

Warne found Philip trapped in the car, and helped free him by pulling him out after telling him to move one leg at a time to get out. Philip was able to immediately stand up and walk around.

Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh is seen driving his Land Rover Freelander on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, two days after being in a crash, Jan. 19, 2019. Matthew Usher/Albanpix.com

"He was obviously shaken, and then he went and asked if everyone else was all right," Warne said.

In the letter, Philip wrote the sun was bright on the road.

"In normal conditions I would have no difficulty in seeing traffic coming from the Dersingham direction, but I can only imagine that I failed to see the car coming, and I am very contrite about the consequences," Philip wrote.

Two women in a second vehicle were hospitalized with minor injuries and a 9-month-old baby was found uninjured in their backseat. Police are investigating what caused the crash, and many people were surprised to hear Philip was behind the wheel at his age.

Royal correspondent Roya Nikka described Philip, who is married to the 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth, as "a very determined headstrong individual who has wanted to retain a sense of individual freedoms." In recent years he has dialed it back, including retiring from royal duties in 2017.

First published on January 27, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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