Prince Philip’s Will to Remain Secret for at Least 90 Years to Protect ‘Dignity’ of Queen Elizabeth – Court Rules

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London’s High Court has ruled that the will of the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband to Queen Elizabeth, will remain sealed for 90 years to maintain the monarchy’s “dignity.”

Judge Andrew McFarlane of the court’s family division ruled that Philip’s will shall remain sealed “and that no copy of the will should be made for the record or kept on the court file,” keeping with a royal convention that has been place since 1910.

However, as Reuters reported, McFarlane also ruled for the request “to exclude the value of the estate from the grant of probate.”

“The degree of publicity that publication would be likely to attract would be very extensive and wholly contrary to the aim of maintaining the dignity of the Sovereign,” McFarlane said in his ruling released Thursday.

Prince Philip died “peacefully” in April at the age of 99, a few months after he was admitted to the hospital for an infection and a preexisting heart condition. He was married to the queen for 73 years.

He is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

As Reuters reported, McFarlane said the first royal family member to have their will sealed was Prince Francis of Teck, the younger brother of Queen Mary, wife of King George V. The most recent royals to have their wills sealed include Elizabeth the Queen Mother, late mother to the current reigning Elizabeth, and the queen’s sister Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.

Despite this convention, one notable royal’s will was made public after their death due to what was referred to at the time as “great public interest.” The last will and testament of Diana, Princess of Wales, was released to the public following her death in 1997.

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At the time, Diana was still considered to be a member of the British royal family as she was the mother of the future king of England. However her status as “Her Royal Highness” had been revoked when she divorced Charles, Prince of Wales.

The bulk of her estate — valued at $35.6 million at the time — was left to her two sons Princes William and Harry. The rest was divided amongst the charities she supported, her godchildren and her staff.

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