Prince Philip set tongues wagging after he was pictured not wearing a seatbelt while driving his Land Rover Freelander last week. Philip had been involved in a horrific car crash just two days prior and managed to escape unscathed, while the driver and passenger in the other car, a Kia, suffered minor injuries. Eagle-eyed watchers have noticed that royals often don't wear seatbelts while driving, but why is that? Are they exempt from the law?
The royal family are not actually given a free pass when it comes to which laws they follow. While there are exceptions – for example the Queen is the only person who does not need to hold a driving license to drive, nor has she ever taken a driving test – the royal family are very careful to abide by the same laws we all have to follow.
Prince Philip pictured not wearing his seatbelt at the Royal Windsor Horse Show last year
A royal source told HELLO! magazine: "The Queen is careful to ensure that any activities that she carries out in a personal capacity are done so in accordance with the law."
There are, as with all laws, quite complicated exceptions and it seems the royals are exempt from buckling up in certain cases. These include when "a person [is] involved in a procession organised by or on behalf of the Crown or which is commonly or customarily held". It's also worth noting that normally, when royals are travelling on duty, they are surrounded by police officers or personal protection officers as part of an official motorcade, which may constitute a procession.
You don't have to wear a seatbelt if riding in a procession organised by or on behalf of the Crown
Citizens, including the royals, are also exempt if their vehicle does not have seat belts in the first place; this would be the case of classic cars, of which the royal family have various. The Queen is the proud owner of Bentleys and Jaguars and her royal fleet is said to be worth £10m upwards. She has been pictured driving her classic cars around her private property in Windsor without a seatbelt before.
Prince Philip car crash victim speaks out:
Of course, there are plenty of other times when the royals do wear seatbelts. Prince William and Kate, and Prince Harry, are often pictured driving to and from their homes in Kensington Palace, and to and from Buckingham Palace, safely buckled up in their Range Rovers.
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