Prince Philip’s will to be sealed for 90 years, British court rules

A British court ruled this week that the will of Prince Philip’s will be sealed and remain private for at least 90 years to preserve Queen Elizabeth’s dignity, according to the BBC.

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For more than a century, it has been the practice for the wills of senior members of the royal family to be sealed or kept secret and not open to public inspection in the way a will would ordinarily be.

An application is made to the president of the family division of the country’s high court to seal the will. The current president of the family division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, heard legal arguments from lawyers representing Philip’s estate at a private hearing in July. McFarlane granted the application on Thursday.

Philip, who died at age 99 on April 9, was married to the Queen for 77 years.

“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,” McFarlane said.

“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 he had not seen the contents of Philip’s will, except for the name of the executor and the date of the will’s execution, according to a story from The Guardian.

McFarlane said the first member of the royal family whose will was sealed after a request by the royal family, was Prince Francis of Teck. Francis, who died in 1910, was the younger brother of Queen Mary.

In 90 years, Philip’s will may be examined by the monarch’s private attorney, the attorney general, the keeper of the royal archives and any personal representative of the deceased who may be able to do so, McFarlane said.

After the examination, the will may remain sealed, or it could be open to the public for inspection.