The car crash involving HRH The Duke of Edinburgh – our response

The car crash involving HRH The Duke of Edinburgh – our response

By Robert J Davies

A TWEET from the Rural Conservative Twitter account yesterday generated quite a lot of debate – by our standards anyway. For those who haven’t seen it, we wrote the following:

“How very disrespectful of the police to breath-test His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, following his car accident today. Let us all give thanks to God that Prince Philip emerged uninjured. Our thoughts are with him tonight.”

It’s always difficult to say everything you want to say in a tweet. It would have been kinder and more appropriate had we also expressed concern at the fact that two ladies in the other car suffered minor injuries and were taken to hospital before being discharged. For them, as for the Duke, it must have been a deeply shocking and frightening incident. Nearly all of us can relate to that, of course, since so many of the population at large have been involved in road smashes.

I certainly have personally and I also recall with a shudder, my days as a newspaper reporter when it would be my grim task along with colleagues to fill columns with accounts of dreadful – often fatal – road accidents. So, on behalf of the RCM I wish to say how much we, like everyone else this morning, feel grateful that yesterday’s accident near Sandringham was not a great deal worse. It was a miracle that the Duke emerged without a scratch and yes, let us give thanks to God for that.

Our tweet (written by me from the RCM account) generated anger and bafflement in some quarters because I expressed concern that Norfolk Police should have chosen to breathalyse the Duke. Why should anyone be above the law, some asked? Others thought it such a ludicrous remark that the Rural Conservative account simply had  to be a parody. One individual, evidently with a taste for conspiracy theories, surmised that we probably hailed from Russia and were on Mr Putin’s payroll.

So let’s tackle these points. Firstly, no we’re not a parody account nor anything to do with Russia. Secondly, it is perfectly reasonable to say that the police acted entirely properly in breath-testing the Duke in light of what happened. Yet I chose, on behalf of the Rural Conservative Movement, to express displeasure at this and here’s why: it is my view that it was not necessary on this occasion. Had there been fatalities or serious, life-changing injuries then it would have been different but that was not the case.

It is my belief that if no alcohol could be smelled on the breath of the Duke that, mindful both of his great age and status as an extremely senior Royal, married to Her Majesty the Queen no less, that discretion could have been exercised and that he need not have been put to this indignity. Of course, one might say – and republicans among you will say – “but this isn’t fair, we’re all the same. It doesn’t matter who we are”.

Yes and no. We can’t have it both ways. Once you start ploughing that furrow you will end up saying that there is nothing special whatsoever about the Royal Family and that we are not to accord them any privileges at all, in any shape or form. That they are just like us, just one of us, and should be treated accordingly. Fine, but then that is the end of the Monarchy as we know it. It is our choice to put Royals on a pedestal; to bow or curtsey when they talk to us; to hang on to the Queen’s every word when she addresses the nation at 3pm on Christmas Day, and so on.

We don’t have to, but that’s how we do it in this country, because we value our Royal Family so much – and indeed, so does much of the world. Our wonderful Queen and her indomitable consort the Duke have enriched our national life immensely from long before most of us were born. As for privilege – theirs has been a life of remorseless duty. The Duke retired from public life less than two years ago, already well into his 90s. The Queen’s service to the nation will be lifelong. Not for them the privilege accorded to the rest of us, of working until we’re about 60 and then enjoying a long retirement, doing as we please.

So yes, it’s my personal view, and one I put forward on behalf of the Rural Conservatives, that these wonderful people deserve our utmost respect and, to use an old-fashioned word, a degree of deference. If I had been the bobby who came across that accident yesterday, I would hope to have been allowed to exercise due discretion in light of all the circumstances and permitted this great old man of 97 years, to have returned immediately to his family without further ado and certainly without being required to give a specimen of breath.

Many of you who do not agree with me on this will hopefully agree with the following: the Duke of Edinburgh is an inspiration to us all for the life he has led and the dedication he has shown to Her Majesty the Queen and to our wonderful country. And let us all wish them many more happy years together.

Robert J Davies, a writer and former newspaper journalist, is the founder of the Rural Conservative Movement, a non-affiliated conservative group based in the United Kingdom.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. A question for you really – in light of the fact that every single person on here is disagreeing with your position, are you questioning its wisdom? The problem with your tweet was that it only expressed concern for one person, the perpetrator of the incident, and made no mention of the poor people he injured. I appreciate the value of the monarchy and agree that their position demands that they be granted a level of public respect. It does not follow however that they be above the law – or that to simply expect them to follow the law of the land doesn’t make them ‘special’.

  2. Get rid of the Royals…… they’ve had a good run now it’s time for some reality.

  3. It’s no surprise that fox hunting privileged people think the Royal Family should be treated differently to the less fortunate.

    For your information a broken arm is life changing, it can prevent someone doing their job which can have a detrimental effect on their life.

    Let’s get this straight, the Royal Family only exist through bullying, oppression, and tactics which these days would be considered gangland activity. It is time this gangster relic was banished out of the UK.

  4. Brilliant piece, excellently written! Those people in the other car should not have been allowed on the road at the same time as HRH. How dare they, his movements should have been posted on notices around Sandringham, and routes closed to allow him to travel along his wife’s highway! Bloody ridiculous in this day and age, that these common folk should come in close contact with our royalty. He might’ve caught something for God’s sake!! I sincerely hope those attention-seeking commoners, get their come-uppance, and surely, the Norfolk Constabulary must be able to find these people guilty of something!

    And also, I don’t know anyone who works till their 60 before retiring! Most of our chaps, did that in their 40’s!

    Tally-Ho old chaps!

    1. Brilliant piece u r an inspiration yourself sir, God bless u and all who sail in u.

      1. Well said sir…………….

    2. Well said. No mention of ordering a new Land Rover (which arrived the following day) or being seen in said new Land Rover, without a seatbelt. Oh well, there you go.

  5. Hello Robert, I have read the ‘about’ section and you clearly value the traditions of our nation. And you talk about “our Christian faith”. I don’t know whether you are a Christian or mention our faith to gain support, but I will assume the former. As such, I would guide you to James chapter 2 which teaches about not showing favouritism.

    You have a goal “We must not allow Jeremy Corbyn and his band of Left-wing extremists to set the agenda.” I would ask that you look at the specifics of what any political party proposes, and see how it fits with Christian and Biblical principles. Weigh policies and rhetoric against what Jesus taught. Sometime God uses the most unpleasant people to teach us what is true; we need to look beyond the individual.

    Our heritage and traditions are in my view very valuable and contribute to our wellbeing, and there should not be a conflict between maintaining them and ‘loving our neighbour as ourselves’. But if there has to be a choice, I will always choose to love my neighbour, to feed the poor, to heal the sick and to fight injustice, because I believe (and I think Christ teaches) that people are more important than institutions.

  6. The willingness to turn a blind eye to crimiminal behaviour because of a person’s status is what is known as ‘the thin end of the wedge’. It has no place in our society and I am pretty sure Her Majesty would agree.

  7. Having read all of this I’m now more certain than ever that this is a parody website! And a good one at that.

  8. The part that had me laughing the loudest at this satire was the sentence about retiring at around 60 and doing as you please. You really don’t live in the real world if you think that is a reality for the majority of your country people.

  9. If they want respect then maybe they should earn it by their actions.

  10. The Duke of Edinburgh was breathalysed as it is stated police practice that when there has been an accident then the drivers are tested. Hrh status doesn’t exclude you from this. Thankfully he was wearing his seatbelt this time around.

  11. I suppose you are also outraged at the Norfolk Constabulary ‘having words’ with him for driving on a public road without wearing a seat belt ?
    Well , I am ! Any other person would have been issued a fixed penalty notice, along with three points on their licence. That he did so shortly after involvement in a bad accident indicates either mental impairment of some sort, or more probably in his case sheer bloody minded arrogance !

  12. No one is above the law. Especially when it involves a could be fatal car crash. What an absolute load of bollocks

  13. Surely you can respect people and also expect them to adhere to the law. At what point does this lovely little act of discretion on the behalf of the Bobby reach its limit?

    Also, to suggest that the common folk should be amazed by “a life of remorseless duty” is a little over the top. I imagine most people who toil far more would take retirement at 90 having had the luxury the Royals live in, than to retire at 65 having had none.

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