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Prince Philip involved in car accident: A king does no wrong
Prince Philip, 97, husband of Queen Elizabeth II, crashed his self-driven car into another car where a lady and child were injured. The lady fractured her wrist in the accident. The prince's car toppled over but he escaped unhurt, although badly shaken by the accident. The Prince is leading a self-proclaimed retired life but is quite hale and hearty.

The said accident has stirred up a debate in legal and journalistic world. What action, if any, should the constabulary of the area take against the Prince despite the fact that the injured lady, a citizen of the United Kingdom, did not lodge a Police complaint nor pressed any charge nor file a suit in a criminal court. Of course, she said that she was deeply disappointed because Prince Philip had not tendered an apology for fracturing her wrist in that accident where the almost Centenarian Prince Philip was in the wrong on more than one count.

To set the record straight it must be mentioned that the Police family liaison officer called Emma, the injured lady who was in her car with a nine-month-old baby and a friend, and said "The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would like to be remembered to you". The injured lady felt hurt and passed a critical comment saying, "That's not an apology or a well-wish. She added that the message that the Police passed on did not make any sense. The accident had occurred when the Duke had pulled out of a side road to go on the main road.

The Norfolk Constabulary said, "As is standard procedure with injury collisions, the incident will be investigated and any appropriate action taken". This may be a form of Police-Legal report but to a common man it makes no sense.

There is an aspect of humour too. A statement issued by the Police said that Prince Philip has been spoken to for driving without a seatbelt. "Suitable words of advice have been given to the driver". It may be mentioned again that the driver was no one else but Prince Philip himself. These guarded words of advice by the Police lead us to another aspect of the incident. Is Prince Philip having immunity from prosecution in the case of a motor accident where a lady passenger in the other car had her wrist fractured?

Legally speaking, only a Sovereign enjoys immunity from prosecution and the Police is not empowered to question or detain a Sovereign or take him or her to a court of law. The old saying is "A king does no wrong." The law evolved this way to keep the dignity of the office of a Sovereign or a Head of State. Not only that, no relative of a Sovereign may be arrested or prosecuted as long as he or she is standing or sitting in close proximity of the Sovereign. A King or a Queen is above civil or criminal law.

In olden days the Sovereign was the fountainhead of Justice. Of course, he or she no longer administers justice in a practical way he or she retains an important symbolic role. It is in the King's or queen's name, Justice is carried out, law and order maintained. Therefore, a Sovereign is above Law and cannot be prosecuted as long as is on the Throne. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that the said immunity from Law does not extend to the spouse of the sovereign.

As for as members of the royal family are concerned they are all subject to prosecution for any wrong doing and no exemption is given or asked for. It may be recalled that Princess Anne, a daughter of Queen Elizabeth II submitted herself to the jurisdiction of courts of law for infringement of traffic rules and sought no mercy nor was any given. Whenever fined for infringement of traffic rules, other members of the Royal family made it a point to pay. The Queen makes it a point to impress on members of the British Royalty to observe law of the land like other citizens do. Thus the Rule of Law prevails in the United Kingdom.

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