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One aspect of retirement that Prince Philip most enjoys is being answerable to no one. For the best part of 70 years his comings and goings were co-ordinated, planned, minuted.
If he was due to be somewhere at 10.15, there would be an official bulletin to confirm it and he'd duly arrive precisely at the appointed time. But the clock is no longer Philip's master. Ever since standing down from his official engagements, he comes and goes just as he pleases.
Experience - Person - Months - Retiring - Freedom
It has been a liberating experience, allowing him to feel and behave like a normal person. In the 18 months since retiring, he has discovered a freedom he has not known since before becoming married.
Getting behind the wheel of a car has added to this sense of independence. Thursday's accident at Sandringham suddenly and ominously compromises all that.
Police - Collision - Philip - Car - Questions
But while police attempt to determine who was responsible for the collision which saw Philip miraculously escape unscathed from his upturned car, there are other questions which will ultimately affect whether the 97-year-old Prince ever drives on public roads again.
The most critical is just why Philip was apparently driving alone. Despite retirement, one detail of his life has not changed — the need for round-the-clock police protection. Strict rules govern the movement of royals and it is extremely unusual for senior members of the Queen's family to go anywhere in public without a bodyguard.
Home - Royal - Estates - Protection - Way
At home, or on the royal estates, the protection is largely withdrawn. It has been this way for decades and by and large the royals accept the system. But from time to time Philip, who has put up with it longer than anyone apart from the Queen, has attempted to rebel.
On one occasion at Balmoral when the Queen and the Prince were due to travel separately to visit friends on a...
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