A judge has ruled that Prince Philip’s will is to remain a secret for at least 90 years to respect the dignity of Queen Elizabeth. According to the BBC, President of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir Andrew McFarlane, made this ruling on Thursday, September 16—saying that a “private process” can be held after 90 years to determine if the will should be unsealed.
“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,” Sir Andrew said in his ruling. “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.”
He added that “I accepted the submission that, whilst there may be public curiosity as to the private arrangements that a member of the Royal Family may choose to make in their will, there is no true public interest in the public knowing this wholly private information.”
According to the Associated Press, wills are typically public documents in Britain, but it’s customary for the wills of senior royals “to be sealed on the order of the High Court.” In other words, there is nothing unusual about Prince Philip’s will being kept out of the public eye.
Sir Andrew—who hasn’t seen the contents of Prince Philip’s will—is also the custodian of a safe that holds 30 envelopes containing the wills of deceased royals, including those of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother. His ruling comes after a court hearing in July, which was private because news of it “might generate wholly unfounded conjecture” which would be “deeply intrusive” for the Queen.
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