Those who wish to see Prince Philip’s will will be waiting a long time, a British court has affirmed.
Last year, the Guardian newspaper challenged the court’s initial decision to exclude the media from the hearing that would decide the fate of the Royal’s will — during which they decided that the documents would remain sealed for 90 years.
According to the Telegraph, judges rejected the outlet’s claim on Friday, saying there were “exceptional” circumstances for the will hearing to be done privately.
Court judges Sir Geoffrey Vos, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lady Justice King said that the press could not know about the meeting “without risking the media storm that was feared.”
“It is true that the law applies equally to the Royal Family, but that does not mean that the law produces the same outcomes in all situations,” the judges said on July 29. “These circumstances are, as we have said, exceptional.”
“The [will] hearing was at a hugely sensitive time for the Sovereign and her family, and those interests would not have been protected if there had been protracted hearings reported in the press rather than a single occasion on which full reasons for what had been decided were published,” the judges said in their ruling.
In the United Kingdom, a will is usually kept available as public record. However, members of the royal family have managed to keep each of their wills sealed for hundreds of years.
The justices also stated that they weren’t “sure that there is a specific public interest in knowing how the assets of the Royal family are distributed.”
They admitted that a “perceived lack of transparency [from the royal family] might be a matter of legitimate public debate,” but noted that the Non-Contentious Probate Rules “allows wills and their values to be concealed from the public gaze in some cases. The judge properly applied the statutory test in this case.”
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” Buckingham Palace announced in a sorrow-filled statement at the time. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
Prince Philip married Queen Elizabeth in 1947 and had four children: Prince Charles, Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew.
Philip later stood by the monarch’s side in 1953 during the coronation that saw her assume the throne.
Tensions ran high with the royal family last year. Queen Elizabeth was reportedly relieved that her granddaughter-in-law Meghan Markle didn’t attend Prince Philip’s funeral. The “Suits” alum’s husband, Prince Harry, attended the socially distanced memorial without her.
According to Tom Bower’s new book “Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the War Between the Windsors,” the sovereign told aides inside of Buckingham Palace as she prepared for the services, “Thank goodness Meghan is not coming.”
Harry reunited with his brother Prince William and the rest of his family at the funeral in April 2021 for the first time since he moved to the United States with Markle and his children.