Prince Philip’s will is set to remain secret for at least 90 years to protect the “dignity and standing of the Queen,” the High Court has ruled.
According to the BBC, it’ll be decided in 90 years whether the documents can be unsealed. However, they may never get revealed.
The network stated that it had been convention for over a century that after the death of a senior member of the Royal Family, the courts were asked to seal their wills.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, published his ruling on Thursday after hearing arguments from lawyers representing the royal’s estate and the attorney general, as well as the government’s chief legal adviser.
McFarlane, who also held a private hearing into the application to seal the will back in July, is the custodian of a safe containing more than 30 envelopes, each containing dead royals’ sealed wills.
The wills could be made public for the first time in more than 100 years due to a process set out by McFarlane.
He said: “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.
“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 hasn’t seen Philip’s will or been told anything about the contents of it, other than the date of its execution and the identity of the appointed executor.
Philip passed away on April 9 at age 99. His funeral was held on April 17.
The judge said he held the hearing in private because it would likely generate “very significant publicity and conjecture” that would “defeat the purpose of the application.”
McFarlane said, “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.”
He insisted there was no legal reason for any representations from media organizations because the public interest was represented by the attorney general, with lawyers for Philip’s estate arguing that news of the hearing and the application “might generate wholly unfounded conjecture” which would be “deeply intrusive” for the Queen and the Royal Family.
The first family member whose will was sealed by the court was Prince Francis of Teck, Queen Mary’s younger brother, who passed away in 1910.