Like millions of people around the world, Prince Philip, of the British Royal Family, had a will. However, unlike many others, Philip’s last wishes will remain a secret for at least 90 years. That’s right! Read on to find out why…
The Will of Prince Philip
A London judge has ruled that Prince Philip’s will must remain a secret for at least 90 years. The reason? It has to do with respecting and protecting the “dignity” of the British Royal Family members. The judge in question, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court, has never seen the will in question. In fact, he only knows the date of the will’s execution and also the executor’s identity. The judge needed to remain ignorant about the details of the last will and testament, in order to make an independent decision.
“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,” McFarlane said in a written judgment. “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.”
In 90 years, the decision of whether or not to release the will of Prince Philip will come down to the British Royal Family members at that time. Wondering how this ruling came to be? Well, it all comes from British customs that have been around for centuries…
The British government kept the entire discussion of Prince Philip‘s will a secret. According to British Royal Family representatives, a public debate would also ruin the process. It 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.”
The process has remained complicated for over 100 years. According to tradition, the oldest, most experienced judge of the British Royal Family keeps track of the will. Currently, McFarlane remains the most senior, making him the custodian of a safe with over 30 Royal Family wills! Now, Prince Philip’s will shall join them.
Earlier this year, Prince Philip passed away in peace at the age of 99. “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 statement. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.” After a day of mourning and countless members of the Royal Family, friends, and lifelong fans left positive messages about the Duke’s life and character, it seems this chapter of the Royal Family has come to an end – for 90 years, at least. Rest in peace, Prince Philip.