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No One Can Stop the Royals From Driving, Whether They're 11 or 97 Years Old

Stephanie Eckardt

Queen Elizabeth II may have turned 93 years old over the weekend, but age is clearly still just a number to the royals, as they've repeatedly proven over the past week. On Tuesday, several news outlets published photos of 97-year-old Prince Philip—who's less than two months shy of his 98th birthday—driving around the grounds of Windsor Castle. And, thanks to a delay since they were taken last Thursday, it was a big day for royals in vehicles: Tuesday also brought the publication of a series of photos taken the day before, which depict an entirely different royal—11-year-old James Viscount Severn—behind the wheel.

It's not just because Prince Philip is nearing triple digits that makes the idea of him on the road so alarming. The last time he was seen driving was without a seat belt—just two days after he crashed into another car in Sandringham, causing him to flip over his Land Rover (and surrender his driver's license).

Royal Windsor Horse Show 2018

Prince Philip driving on the third day of the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 11, 2018, in Windsor, England.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Prince Philip—and the eight-month-old in the car he struck—survived the accident unscathed, while the two women accompanying the infant went to the hospital for their injuries. His mother, who sustained a broken wrist, and has since publicly condemned the treatment and behavior of the prince, who managed to avoid prosecution. She might be unhappy, but it's certainly worked out well for Philip; according to People, he's even been granted permission to drive without a license. (So long as he's within the grounds of his private estate, as he was on Thursday.)

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The royals aren't letting the accident get in the way of their lifetime love of Land Rovers, either. Eleven may seem a bit young for them to pass it on to young James, who happens to be the Queen's youngest grandchild. But as 11th in line to the throne, it was only a matter of time before he took up driving one, too; the Queen has been driving one for decades. (While James gave it a go on Monday, the 93-year-old switched to her other favorite mode of transportation: horseback riding.)

Windsor Horse Show

Queen Elizabeth II driving her Range Rover as she attends day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in Home Park on May 13, 2017, in Windsor, England.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The Queen is the only royal absolved from the U.K.'s requirements for a driver's license, but neither James nor Philip appears to have broken any laws in the past week, as both stuck to private land. That doesn't, of course, mean that their expeditions are risk-free, but neither James, who brought his mother, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, along for the ride, nor Philip seemed to mind. After all, it was just a year before he retired from public life, in 2016, that a then 94-year-old Prince Philip took Michelle and Barack Obama (and the Queen) for a spin around Windsor in a Range Rover that wasn't even bulletproof. (Oddly enough, the exact car that he drove was made available for sale just a month after the accident—it certainly didn't stop it from selling.)

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Prince Philip driving then President Barack Obama, then first lady Michelle Obama, and Queen Elizabeth II from the helicopter into Windsor Castle after the Obamas arrived for a private lunch in Windsor on April, 22, 2016.
Geoff Pugh/Getty Images

The royals' insistence on vehicular freedom isn't unique to those at either end of the age spectrum. Prince Harry and Prince William have also apparently insisted on driving themselves around town as they please. "I very much feel if that I can do it myself, I want to do it myself," Prince William told CNN in 2013, after being photographed driving his then newborn son Prince George home from the hospital.

Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry waving as they leave Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House, hosted by the Prince of Wales on May 19, 2018, in Windsor, England.
WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Jerudong Park Trophy

Prince William driving his Range Rover to play in the Jerudong Park Trophy charity polo match at Cirencester Park Polo Club on July 15, 2017, in Cirencester, England.
Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

The goal might be to feel a hint of independence, or a sense of normalcy, though neither, of course, is actually the case—not with at least two vehicles of armed officers joining for the ride.

Related: While Kate Middleton Gave Birth, Queen Elizabeth, 92, Was Riding a Horse Sans Helmet

An Appreciation of Queen Elizabeth II's 93 Years of Loving Corgis

Queen Elizabeth II with two corgis at her home at 145 Piccadilly, London, 1936.
Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret at the windows of Y Bwthyn Bach, aka the Welsh House, a miniature house presented to them by the people of Wales, built in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor, 1936
Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II with her dogs in her study, 1972.
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Queen Elizabeth II with the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, and one of the family's corgis at a railway station, circa 1935.
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Queen Elizabeth II arrives at King's Cross railway station in London with her corgis after holidays in Balmoral Castle in Scotland and before welcoming the astronauts of Apollo 11 who walked on the moon to Buckingham Palace, 1969.
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Queen Elizabeth II sitting on a garden seat with two corgis at her home on 145 Piccadilly, London, 1936.
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Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth II with gardening equipment and a pet corgi on a terrace of the Royal Lodge, Windsor, 1940.
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Queen Elizabeth ll arriving to the Aberdeen Airport with her corgis to start her holidays in Balmoral, Scotland, 1974.
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Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret sitting on the grass in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor, stroking a corgi, 1936.
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Queen Elizabeth II with her corgi Sue at Windsor Castle, 1944.
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Queen Elizabeth II walking the Cross Country course with some of her corgis during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials, 1980.
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Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret studying whilst a corgi sleeps at their feet in a drawing room at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, 1940.
Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II with her dogs at a window of Y Bwthyn Bach, aka the Welsh House, a miniature house presented to her and Princess Margaret by the people of Wales, built in the grounds of the Royal Lodge, Windsor, 1936.
Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret in a carriage in the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, 1940.
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Queen Elizabeth II relaxes at Sandringham with her corgis, 1980.
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Queen Elizabeth II with two corgis and Princess Anne on the runway of an airport in London, 1969.
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Queen Elizabeth II carrying one of her dogs at Windsor Great Park, England, 1990.
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with one of her corgis, 1952.
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Queen Elizabeth II traveling in the back of a car with one of her corgis, circa 1980.
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Queen Elizabeth II hugging Dookie, her first-ever corgi, 1936.
Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Hulton Archive/Getty Images