Why Prince Philip’s Will Is Going to Be Kept Secret and Sealed for 90 Years
Prince Philip's will won't be made public any time soon.
On Thursday (Sept. 16), a judge at London's High Court made the ruling that the will shall be kept secret to protect the "dignity and standing" of both Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth. The Duke of Edinburgh, who was married to the Queen for over seven decades, passed away on April 9.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the court's family division, ruled in favor of the request for the will to be sealed. According to the BBC, he also agreed to "exclude the value of the estate from the grant of probate." McFarlane has been the custodian of more than 30 other sealed wills from deceased royal family members.
For the last century, the courts have been requested to seal the will of any senior royal family member upon their death.
While most non-royal wills are granted probate for public inspection, Prince Philip's will most likely become public, only at a much later date. This breaks with past tradition as the majority of royal wills have not been made public. However, Princess Diana's will was made public following her death in 1997. She left the majority of her estate to charity and her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
"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," McFarlane said.
So, what will happen to Prince Philip's will? There has reportedly been no copy made of the document, and no information from the will shall be kept in the court's files. McFarlane will seal the will and be responsible for it in his royal role.
When the 90 years is up in 2111, the monarch's private solicitor; the keeper of the Royal Archives; the attorney general; and any of the deceased's personal representatives who are still alive will come together to examine the document. The team will then decide which parts of the document will be made public and which will remain private.
Despite the new ruling, McFarlane said that some royal wills will never be made public, not even in part.
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