Prince Philip’s will to remain under wraps for at least 90 years despite legal challenge to newspaper

The will of Prince Philip, the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II, is to remain private due to “extraordinary” circumstances, British judges ruled on Friday.

After his death in April 2021, the UK Supreme Court ruled that Prince Philip’s will would be sealed for at least 90 years. Following that decision, British newspaper The Guardian has legally challenged the fact that the media were barred from a hearing in July 2021 that made that decision, the BBC reported.

Although the newspaper argued there was a “lack of external scrutiny,” the judges dismissed the claim, saying there were “extraordinary” circumstances surrounding the private hearing.

The three judges – Sir Geoffrey Vos, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lady Justice King – said the press could not be alerted to the private hearing as it would lead to a “media storm”.

“The hearing came at an extremely sensitive time for the Sovereign and her family and those interests would not have been protected if lengthy hearings had been reported in the press rather than on a single occasion giving the full reasons for the decision were released,” they said in the ruling, according to People.

Wills are normally publicly available in the UK after a person’s death. However, it has been customary for over a century for the wills of members of the royal family to be sealed.

“It is true that the law applies equally to the royal family, but that does not mean that the law has the same results in all situations. These circumstances, as we have said, are exceptional,” the judges said.

“We are not sure if there is a particular public interest in knowing how the royal family’s wealth is distributed,” they continued. “A perceived lack of transparency might be a matter of legitimate public debate, but the (Non-Contentious Probate Rules) allow wills and their values ​​to be hidden from the public in some cases. The judge properly applied the statutory test in this case.”

Prince Philip died “peacefully” at Windsor Castle on April 9, 2021, just two months short of his 100th birthday. Age was determined as the cause of death.

Only a handful of family members attended his funeral last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, but in March the royals gathered for a memorial service honoring the late Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen attended the service in dark green, which was reportedly the shade of Prince Philip’s official livery colour, Edinburgh Green.

Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Princess Anne, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie were also in attendance. However, Prince Harry, who attended his grandfather’s funeral in April last year, skipped the funeral service.

Photo: POOL / Alastair Grant Prince Philip’s will to remain under wraps for at least 90 years despite legal challenge to newspaper

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