The Duchess of Edinburgh, Sophie, has publicly voiced her sorrow following the fatal accident involving her police escort and an elderly woman. Buckingham Palace issued a heartfelt statement to the Associated Press on her behalf, "The Duchess of Edinburgh is deeply saddened to hear that Helen Holland has passed away. Her Royal Highness's deepest condolences and sympathies go to all of Ms. Holland's family." It's understood that the Duchess plans to privately contact the bereaved family.
Helen Holland, 81, a resident of Birchanger in Essex, was hit by the police motorcycle escorting Sophie on May 10. The unfortunate event occurred while Helen was using a pedestrian crossing at the intersection of West Cromwell Road and Warwick Road in Earl's Court. Helen's critical injuries resulted in her falling into a coma, and she later succumbed to them.
Martin Holland, Helen's son, expressed his grief to the BBC. He mentioned that his mother battled with "multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries." She endured "nearly two weeks" of fighting for her life before succumbing to the "irreversible damage to her brain."
Helen, a mother of four, grandmother to ten, and a great-grandmother to seven, was visiting her sister in London at the time of the accident. Following the incident, the Duchess released a statement praying for Helen's recovery and expressing gratitude for the prompt response by emergency services.
The incident is being thoroughly investigated by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). Chief Superintendent Richard Smith, the head of the Metropolitan Police's Royalty and Specialist Protection Unit, assured cooperation with the independent investigation.
A call for witnesses to come forward has been issued by the IOPC to aid in their ongoing investigation. Amanda Rowe, a spokesperson for the IOPC, stated on their website that the investigation includes the review of police body worn video and the forensic scanning and mapping of the scene.
Witness accounts describe the scene as "carnage," with Helen being "flung about 40 feet along the road."
The incident has spurred public inquiries on Twitter, questioning the necessity of the Duchess's motorcycle escort, particularly as there were reportedly no royal engagements that day. Many are also demanding details about the speed of the vehicle involved.
The accident occurred just days after the Duchess of Edinburgh attended the coronation ceremony of King Charles III in Westminster Abbey, London, accompanied by her husband, Prince Edward, and their two children.