For royal family wills, it is tradition that the courts are asked to seal the documents from public viewing. Prince Philip's will is no exception, and Sir Andrew McFarlane, the most senior judge in the family courts, just ruled that the will is to be sealed for 90 years.
In 90 years, there is set to be another hearing to decide if the document should be unsealed. In the hearings, McFarlane heard arguments from the duke's estate and the attorney general, the government's chief legal adviser. He gave his ruling on September 16, 2021, concluding that the will should be kept private, to "maintain the dignity" of Queen Elizabeth and the rest of the royal family.
"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," Sir Andrew said, per BBC. "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."
He continued, "I accepted the submission that, whilst there may be public curiosity as to the private arrangements that a member of the Royal Family may choose to make in their will, there is no true public interest in the public knowing this wholly private information."
Prince Philip passed away at age 99 in April 2021. The family honored his life with a funeral that month. The royals are further paying tribute to the Duke's legacy in a new documentary, set to air next week on BBC. In the film, the family is set to share their "personal thoughts and reflections" on the Duke of Edinburgh’s life. “More than a dozen members" of the royal family are set to appear in the feature, including the Queen and Philip’s four children and their adult grandchildren.
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