Prince Philip cried "I'm a fool" after cheating death in a nasty car crash - amid reports that he was involved in another near-miss shortly before the accident.

The Sun reports Philip cried "I'm a fool" after being dramatically pulled through the sunroof of his Land Rover when the car flipped, trapping the driver's side door in the accident outside the Queen's country estate Sandringham at Norfolk.

Another motorist took to Facebook, saying the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh almost crashed into her before the horrifying accident occurred, according to The Sun.

The incident has thrown Britain's driving laws into the spotlight, and has raised questions about why Philip continues to drive in his old age.

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The Prince is already back behind the wheel - photographed driving alone, without a seatbelt, in a brand new Land Rover heading into the main entrance gate to the Sandringham estate on Saturday afternoon local time.

Queen Elizabeth II is understood to be angry at her husband, while Prince Charles is set to step up and help his mother following the accident.

News media film broken glass and car parts on the road side near to the Sandringham Estate, England, where Prince Philip was involved in a road accident.
News media film broken glass and car parts on the road side near to the Sandringham Estate, England, where Prince Philip was involved in a road accident.

Philip was taken to the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King's Lynn on Friday, the day after his car overturned in a smash with another car.

He had been seen by a doctor at Sandringham immediately after the accident and declared to have no injuries, but given his advanced age, it was decided to send him for a hospital check-up.

Buckingham Palace released a statement, saying: "On doctor's advice, the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn this morning for a precautionary check-up. This confirmed His Royal Highness had no injuries of concern. The Duke has returned to Sandringham."

Their statement that the Prince had "no injuries of concern'' slightly contradicts Thursday's night statement, which said he was "not injured.''

'HOW IS HE STILL DRIVING?'

A driver claims the Duke of Edinburgh narrowly avoided crashing into her near the Sandringham estate before his crash on Thursday afternoon.

Helen Staines accused Philip of nearly running her off the road as he drove around Fring, Norfolk — about 10 kilometres from the site of his collision with a Kia, The Sun reported.

She questioned why the 97-year-old royal is still driving after news of his accident on the A149 in Babingley, Norfolk, emerged.

Broken glass and car parts on the road side near to the Sandringham Estate, England.
Broken glass and car parts on the road side near to the Sandringham Estate, England.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Helen said: "How's he still driving he nearly ran me off the road at Fring about time he stopped."

She did not say when the alleged near-miss happened, but "fiercely independent" Philip has been driving himself around in his Land Rover for years.

PHILIP LUCKY TO HAVE ESCAPED INJURY

Police are still investigating the accident, which happened as Prince Philip was pulling out of a side-road onto the A149.

A Kia travelling along the A149, which had the right of way, "T-boned'' the driver's side of the Prince's Land Rover, which overturned.

The Kia driver, a 28-year-old woman, received knee injuries while her 45-year-old passenger suffered a broken wrist.

A nine-month-old baby escaped injury.

Prince Philip was badly shaken up but conscious after the accident, and a passer-by helped him climb out of the sunroof of his Land Rover, which lay on its side.

Given the force of the accident, and Philip's advanced age, he is considered very lucky to have escaped serious injury.

PHILIP'S FIRST WORDS AT CRASH SITE

The Sun reports that a witness recalled how Prince Philip groaned: "I'm such a fool" after being pulled from the wreckage of his Land Rover.

Victoria Warne, 72, said: "He asked, 'Is everyone all right?' I said, 'Not really'."

Mrs Warne, 72, after she tended to the injured Kia occupants. "The prince steadied himself for ten minutes after the crash then started worrying about the others.

"He walked slowly down the path towards the crashed car without his protection officers and said, 'Is everyone all right?'

"I wasn't going to lie to him, so I said, 'Not really'.

"I told him the baby was fine - but we thought the passenger had broken her arm.

"He looked so worried and told me, 'I'm such a fool'."

She added: "The passenger from the other car told me, 'I always wanted to meet a royal - but not this way'.

"The two women and the boy were coming along the main road and Prince Philip's car came out of the side road.

"Prince Philip told me later, 'The sun was low and I couldn't see' but he still came out and collided with the ladies' vehicle.

"It was their right of way. It's not a fast road but it's a 60mph speed limit on the A road.

"If you're coming off the Sandringham estate, as Prince Philip was, he should have stopped but it seems as if he drove straight out into the road. The impact sent him rolling and spinning all over the road.

"The other driver reacted extremely well after the impact and steered her car into the path at the side of the road."

CHARLES TO STEP UP, QUEEN ANGRY

Prince Charles is said to be set to step up and help his mother following his father's accident.

"Prince Charles will have input from now on, as it is stressful for the Queen to make major decision on her own," a royal source told The Sun.

"The only person who he will take heed of is the Queen, who at 92 will be horrified by this accident."

The source said that the Queen would likely give her husband a dressing down over the accident.

"A stern talking to Philip with rules from now concerning driving will be spelt out once Philip is over his shock at this potentially very serious car crash.

"He will not be contained, he has a low boredom threshold and is now causing a problem with his wandering and off piste activities," the source said/ "He is basically living in Wood Farm on the Sandringham Estate and runs his own timetable, his trusted staff just tend to let him 'get on with it."

The Queen is due to leave Sandringham on February 6, with Prince Charles expected to have an input in what will happen with his father after that date.

The crash has been described as a "major blow" to the Duke, and has reportedly sparked secret royal talks about his future behind the wheel.

Victoria Arbiter, a royal commentator for CNN told USA TODAY she expects that "serious conversations" are taking place about whether Philip should be restricted to driving within the grounds of the royal estates.

"He's a proud man and it's difficult to tell anyone to hang up their keys, but for a royal with so few opportunities to lead an independent life, this will come as a major blow to the duke," Arbiter said.

Arbiter's father once served as the queen's press secretary.

DUKE MAKES CONTACT WITH KIA DRIVER

Royal sources told the British media yesterday that Philip, known as the Duke of Edinburgh, had made private contact with the women from the Kia, who have both been released from hospital, and "exchanged well-wishes.''

The Queen, 92, is thought to be with her husband as he rests up at Sandringham.

Police who attended the scene breathalysed Prince Philip and the driver of the Kia, and both returned negative blood alcohol readings.

Questions continue about why the fiercely independent Prince continues to drive at such an advanced age, and why he didn't have a royal protection officer with him.

Older drivers in the UK must renew their drivers' licence every three years after they turn 70, although they are not required to sit a test.

The palace has said Philip has a driver's licence and it is up to date.

The Queen, who also still drives herself occasionally on the royal estates, as well as still riding horseback, is the only member of the royal family who is not required to hold a driver's licence.

A replacement Land Rover was seen being delivered to Sandringham in the back of a truck yesterday.

Many residents spoke about dangerous conditions on the road where the accident occurred, and the local council said it would reduce the speed limit on the A149 from 60 miles an hour (about 96kmh) to 50 mph (80kmh) and install traffic cameras.