Analysis: A court battle is brewing over Prince Philip’s will

In September, Andrew McFarlane, president of the High Court’s Family Division, dominated that Philip’s will could be sealed for 90 years. Among the few current was a lawyer representing the duke’s property from regulation agency Farrer & Co, the Queen’s non-public solicitors, and the lawyer basic, the federal government’s chief authorized adviser. The media weren’t informed of the listening to or permitted to attend, with the general public curiosity represented by the lawyer basic.

A Guardian News & Media spokesperson informed CNN in an emailed assertion that the High Court’s determination to ban the media from the court listening to with out informing shops or permitting them to make representations “is a clear threat to the principles of open justice.”

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“It is also concerning that the court appears to believe that only the attorney general can speak to the public interest,” the spokesperson continued. “We are seeking permission to argue that the behaviour of the high court in this instance constitutes a failure of open justice and that the case should be reheard.”

According to British regulation, if an individual prepares a will previous to their demise, it turns into a public doc after being admitted to probate, and anybody can download a replica from the Probate Registry for a payment.

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However, anybody can ask the court to “seal” a will and maintain it non-public, in response to Geoff Kertesz and Judith Swinhoe-Standen from UK regulation agency Stewarts. “The court must be persuaded that it would be ‘undesirable or otherwise inappropriate’ to make the will public,” they informed CNN. “Historically, the courts have approved such applications only for senior members of the royal family. It is unclear under what, if any, other circumstances the court might agree to keep a will private.”

One current senior royal whose will was made public was Diana, Princess of Wales, who gave up her HRH title when she divorced Prince Charles.

Judge McFarlane stated in his ruling that “it has become the convention that, following the death of a senior member of the Royal Family, an application to seal their will is made” and that “it appears that such applications have always been heard in private and have invariably been granted.”

He stated it was understood that the primary member of the royal household whose will was sealed was Prince Francis of Teck, the youthful brother of King George V’s spouse Queen Mary, who died in 1910.

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Legal and royal knowledgeable Michael L. Nash informed CNN: “It was Queen Mary who used these unusual royal powers and prerogatives never used before.”

Queen Elizabeth II watches as pallbearers carry the coffin of Prince Philip, Duke Of Edinburgh into St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021.

Francis died immediately on the age of 40, following a botched medical examination of his nostril, in response to Nash, who additionally authored “Royal Wills in Britain from 1509 to 2008.” He stated the prince was a “reckless gambler” but in addition an “extremely lovable character,” who bequeathed treasured household jewels to his mistress in a draft model of his will.

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Nash, who has seen a replica of the draft will that surfaced in archives in Northern Ireland, stated the prince was consistently in monetary hassle, and upon his demise “Queen Mary knew that the creditors, once they saw the will, would descend and everything that Frank died possessed of would have to be sold in order to satisfy these massive debts.”

He continued, “And she was absolutely mortified that the public would be able to know about the state that her brother had got himself into.”

Nash additionally identified that the household has confronted authorized challenges to the secrecy of royal wills earlier than, the latest of which was thought-about by the court in 2007. He highlighted an utility by Robert Andrew Brown, who claimed to be the illegitimate little one of the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret. Brown sought to open Margaret’s will, in addition to that of the Queen Mother, however the declare was dismissed as a fantasy, Nash stated.

The Queen Mother (R) arrives at The Guildhall in London with Princess Margaret, for a lunch to celebrate her 100th Birthday on June 27, 2000.

Privacy has develop into the talk of the fashionable period for the British monarchy, with the query of how a lot privateness a member of the family deserves routinely rising. Critics typically say royals use their positions and privilege to safe exemptions and evade scandal, whereas additionally noting that the Windsors are funded by taxpayers.

In his judgment, McFarlane stated he was the custodian of a protected holding greater than 30 envelopes, every of which supposedly comprises the key will of a useless royal. The most up-to-date additions have been made in 2002 with these of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

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McFarlane additionally touched upon why privateness was afforded for royal wills, saying: “The answer to the question ‘why should there be an exception for senior members of the Royal Family?’ is, in my view, clear: it is necessary to enhance the protection afforded to the private lives of this unique group of individuals, in order to protect the dignity and standing of the public role of the Sovereign and other close members of Her family.”

Lawyers Kertesz and Swinhoe-Standen stated there was a notable distinction within the dealing with of the Duke of Edinburgh’s wills and people of royals earlier than him.

“All previously sealed royal wills are to be kept private indefinitely, but Prince Philip’s will is different in that its privacy is time-restricted to 90 years,” the pair stated. “After 90 years, certain officials may inspect it, and they may then invite the court to rule on whether the will should be made public at that point, or kept private for a further period.”

Nash described the time restrict as an “important advance,” because the earlier place meant wills have been hid in perpetuity. “That gave serious misgivings to historians, lawyers, researchers — everybody that had a valid reason for reading the will,” he added.

“I can see in future cases that 90 years tumbling down to, say, 50 years or even less. So that there is at least some possibility of people living now being able to read (a will) at some time in the future during their lifetime.”


So, what do you assume: Should or should not the general public be allowed to learn a royal will, and why?

It’s definitely an fascinating one to ponder. Let us know your ideas on e-mail ([email protected]). Don’t neglect to incorporate your title and the place you might be writing from, and your views may function in a future version of Royal News.


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Queen is all smiles at first engagement since well being scare.

Elizabeth II warmly greeted the top of the Armed Forces after they met at Windsor on Wednesday — her first face-to-face engagement since she missed the Remembrance Sunday service in London final weekend. “Her Majesty received General Sir Nicholas Carter at Windsor Castle today upon relinquishing his appointment as Chief of the Defence Staff,” Buckingham Palace stated. Dressed in an orange, inexperienced and white floral costume, the 95-year-old monarch stood to greet the outgoing basic earlier than the pair chatted within the Oak Room at Windsor Castle. Read more right here.
The dutiful royal was back at it with a military audience at Windsor.

William heads to Microsoft HQ.

The Duke of Cambridge visited Microsoft’s workplaces simply exterior London on Thursday to learn how new AI-scanning tech is serving to to sort out the unlawful wildlife commerce. William spoke with builders following a current profitable trial at London’s Heathrow airport, the place the software program proved able to detecting unlawful ivory merchandise hidden amongst baggage and cargo. The prince, who arrange the Royal Foundation’s United for Wildlife, explored poaching instances from end-to-end, studying how accomplice organizations are aiding in disrupting felony networks.

William learns how new AI scanning technology can increase detection of illegal wildlife products being trafficked through international airports during a visit to Microsoft HQ in Reading, England on November 18, 2021.


Charles and Camilla go to Jesus’ baptism web site.

The Prince of Wales and spouse Camilla took a particular journey whereas on their tour in Jordan Tuesday. The pair, who carried out their first main abroad go to because the begin of the pandemic this week, traveled to a web site on the river Jordan the place Jesus is believed to have been baptized. The couple have been permitted to dip their fingers within the water and are taking “five or six dozen bottles” of holy water residence for future royal baptisms, in response to the Daily Mail. The royal couple kicked off their four-day autumn tour on Tuesday.

Clarence House stated the journey was on the request of the British authorities and engagements would focus significantly on addressing the local weather disaster. In Jordan, they have been welcomed to Al Husseiniya Palace by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, full with two honor guards.

The couple pose in front of the Sphinx, on the outskirts of Cairo.

After a packed schedule throughout two days, the royals traveled to Egypt, the place they met President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and first woman Entissar Amer at Al-Ittahadiya Palace. Charles then attended an interfaith reception at Al Azhar Mosque, the place he met with the Grand Imam. They concluded their first day with a go to to the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Sphinx earlier than attending a reception. They separated for engagements on their ultimate day in Egypt, with the duchess visiting a Cairo veterinary hospital whereas Charles went to a enterprise assembly downtown.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dressed of their most interesting for an evening out on the Royal Albert Hall in London on Thursday. The couple left the youngsters at residence to look at the Royal Variety Performance. The annual present — which this yr marked a century of royal patronage — is held to fundraise and assist members of the entertainment trade. After the present, the couple have been photographed chatting with comic Bill Bailey and musician Ed Sheeran, amongst others.

“It is hard to believe that it is over 50 years since Prince Philip and I attended the very first meeting of the General Synod. None of us can slow the passage of time; and while we often focus on all that has changed in the intervening years, much remains unchanged, including the Gospel of Christ and his teachings.”
The Queen despatched a message to the General Synod, the Church of England’s legislative physique, for its opening session on Tuesday.

Thanks for studying in the present day’s ship — we hope you loved it. Just a heads-up that we’re taking a quick break over Thanksgiving subsequent week however will be again to convey you all of the comings and goings of the Windsors on December 3.

–Max & Lauren

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