Woman, 81, hit by duchess’s police escort dies

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at a recent Buckingham Palace garden party.

Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh, at a recent Buckingham Palace garden party. Photo: Getty

The British pensioner hit by a police motorcycle escorting the King’s sister-in-law has died, her family have confirmed.

Essex woman Helen Holland, 81, was struck by an officer escorting Sophie, the Duchess of Edinburgh, through a busy intersection in London’s west on May 10, suffering critical injuries.

On Wednesday (Australian time), Ms Holland’s family told the BBC she fought “for her life for nearly two weeks… but irreversible damage to her brain finally ended the battle today”.

Ms Holland, a great-grandmother, was in London visiting her sister when the crash occurred, just days after the extended royal family gathered for festivities for the King’s coronation.

One eye witness told British media that the woman was “thrown 40 feet (12 metres) across the road” after being struck by a motorbike.

No other injuries were reported.

After the crash, Ms Holland’s family said she was in a coma. Last Friday, police told the BBC that she remained in a critical condition.

Her son Martin announced her death. He said Ms Holland had died after “suffering multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries” while using the “safe route of [a] pedestrian crossing”.

Mr Holland and his wife Lisa-Marie said in an earlier statement they were “shocked and sickened at her extensive injuries”.

“She is being well cared for by the NHS, who we must thank deeply for their help in keeping her alive,” they said.

duchess sophie escort car

Helen Holland was flung metres across the road and suffered extensive injuries in the accident. Photo: Supplied

Shortly after the accident, Buckingham Palace released a statement saying the duchess’s “heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the injured lady and her family”. It also said Sophie was “grateful for the swift response by the emergency services”.

Further comment would be inappropriate because the crash remained under investigation, the palace said.

Sophie, 58, is a full-time working royal married to Edward, the King’s youngest brother.

Police inquiries into the crash are continuing. The Independent Office for Police Conduct has said part of its investigation will include examining police body-cam footage and CCTV from surrounding properties.

-with agencies

Topics: Royal Family
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