Great-grandmother hit and killed by police outrider escorting Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh 'loved the royals'

24 May 2023, 18:52 | Updated: 6 June 2023, 16:09

Helen Holland (pictured), 81, from Essex, was hit by a police motorcycle escorting Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh
Helen Holland (pictured), 81, from Essex, was hit by a police motorcycle escorting Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh. Picture: Family Handout/Alamy/Social Media

By Will Taylor

The great-grandmother killed after she was hit by a police motorbike that was escorting Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh on London's A4 loved the royals and officers.

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The bike hit Helen Holland, 81, at a junction in Earl's Court in West London on the afternoon of May 10.

The police watchdog the IOPC has launched a probe after investigators attended the scene alongside emergency services.

Ms Holland, from Birchanger, Essex, was in critical condition for two weeks but died on Tuesday.

Her sister, who did not wish to be named, told LBC's Charlotte Lynch: "Helen loved people and animals, the royal family, and believed the police could do no wrong.

"A great grandmother, gardener, and country walker every week. Something like an Angel. She will never be forgotten."

Helen's sister left this note
Helen's sister left this note. Picture: LBC

Helen had been staying with her sister - her only sibling. The sister was with her when she died.

She left a note, which said: "Report what you saw on May 10 at 3:20pm. Helen died last night, don’t let her die in vain. It could happen to you. She was a great grandmother who lived for others."

Her family told the BBC: “She fought for her life for nearly two weeks… but irreversible damage to her brain finally ended the battle today.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "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."

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Helen Holland lost her fight for life after being hit by a police motorbike
Helen Holland lost her fight for life after being hit by a police motorbike. Picture: Family handout

She suffered multiple broken bones and massive internal injuries. Her son said she had crossed the road at a pedestrian crossing when she was struck.

Her grandson, Joe Strutter Holland, posted on Facebook: “Rest in peace Nanny (Helen) Holland. One of the kindest and most joyful souls you'll ever of had the pleasure of meeting. Taken before her time.”

After the crash her family issued a statement describing her as a “beautiful, loving, kind and caring lady who would always put anyone before herself”.

They stated at the time: “Helen may be 81 years old but she is sprightly for her age and nothing stopped her living life to the full, spending precious time with her family, muddy walks with the dogs and lunches with friends is what she enjoyed most.”

Buckingham Palace issued a statement on May 11 saying the Duchess's 'heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the injured lady and her family’. 

Police said the investigation into the crash is ongoing. 

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