Why Prince Philip's Will Is Set to Be Kept Secret for 90 Years

The will of Queen Elizabeth II's late husband Prince Philip, who died in April, will be kept secret for at least 90 years. Find out how this impacts the royal family.

By Corinne Heller Sep 17, 2021 3:07 PMTags
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Queen Elizabeth II's late husband Prince Philip maintained a will before his death, but most of their current family members will never know what it says.

Its contents will remain secret for at least 90 years in order to protect the "dignity and standing" of the Queen, the U.K.'s High Court ruled on Thursday, Sept. 16. Philip, who was married to the monarch for 73 years and is the father of their children Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, died in April at age 99.

This move is not unusual. For over 100 years, courts have been asked to seal the wills of senior royal family members following their deaths, BBC News reported, adding that in 90 years, there will be a private process to decide if Philip's will can be unsealed.

"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," said judge Andrew McFarlane, according to the outlet. "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."

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The judge, the custodian of a safe that holds 30 envelopes containing wills of deceased royal family members, added that he has not seen Philip's will or been told anything of its contents, other than the date of its execution and the identity of the appointed executor.


"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," McFarland continued, "there is no true public interest in the public knowing this wholly private information."

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