Prince Philip’s will to be kept sealed for 90 years

Prince Philip’s will to be kept sealed for 90 years

The UK High Court has ruled that Prince Philip’s will is to remain secret so as to protect the “dignity” of Queen Elizabeth, owing to her constitutional role. Philip died in April at the age of 99 following almost 74 years as the Queen’s consort.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court, heard arguments from lawyers representing Philip’s estate and the attorney general, who represents the public interest, in a private hearing in July, and published the court’s ruling on Thursday. 

In the ruling, McFarlane ordered that Philip’s will remain sealed for 90 years, and even after that date, may only be opened in private. The judge said: “I have held that, because of the constitutional position of the sovereign, it is appropriate to have a special practice in relation to royal wills. There is a need to enhance the protection afforded to truly private aspects of the lives of this limited group of individuals in order to maintain the dignity of the sovereign and close members of her family.”

According to The Guardian, it has been convention for over a century that following the death of a senior member of the royal family, an application to seal their will is made to the president of the family division of the High Court. This means their wills are not publicly available the way most wills are.

McFarlane also ruled that any future judgements on applications to seal wills belonging to members of the royal family would remain closed, and therefore will not be made public.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died on April 9th of this year, following a 73-year marriage to Queen Elizabeth, making him the longest-serving royal consort in world history. At the time, Buckingham Palace released a statement reading, "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

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