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Prince Philips’ will ordered to remain sealed by the judge to protect Queen Elizabeth

Prince Philips’ will ordered to remain sealed by the judge to protect Queen Elizabeth

Prince Philips’ will was ordered to remain sealed by a judge on Thursday.

Judge Andrew McFarlane said the legal document should remain secret to protect “a dignity” for his widow Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s head of state.

Philip died in April at the age of 99 after more than seven decades of marriage to the Queen.

Wills are usually public documents in Britain, but for almost a century it has been customary for wills of the oldest royals to be sealed by order of the High Court.

Judge McFarlane said Philip’s will should be sealed for 90 years. It can then be opened privately and it should be considered whether it should be published.

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“I have determined that because of the constitutional position of the sovereign, it is appropriate to have a particular practice in relation to royal wills,” McFarlane said in a written judgment. “There is a need to increase the protection of truly private aspects of life for this limited group of individuals in order to preserve the dignity of sovereignty and close family members.”

A judge ruled on Thursday, September 16, 2021, that the will of the late Prince Philips should remain secret to protect “a dignity” for his widow Queen Elizabeth II, who is Britain’s head of state.
(AP Photo / Matt Dunham, File)

The judge stressed that he had not seen or been told about the contents of the will.

McFarlane said he, as president of the High Court’s family division, is the manager of a safe containing 30 envelopes, each containing a sealed will from a deceased royal, including the late Queen Mother Elizabeth and the current Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret. Both died in 2002.

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In the ensuing years, a man who claimed to be Margret’s illegitimate son, Robert Brown, fought a failed court battle to get both wills closed to seek proof of his claim.

The judge said that while there may be “public curiosity” about royal wills, “there is no real public interest in the public knowing this completely private information.”

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The ruling came after a court hearing in July that was held privately. Media organizations were not allowed to publish the will.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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