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The contents of Prince Philip’s will must remain secret.
Last year a judge ruled that the will of Queen Elizabeth’s late husband would be sealed and kept secret for at least 90 years. The Guardian, a UK-based news outlet, challenged the decision to exclude media from a July 2021 hearing which made that ruling.
But on Friday judges denied the request, saying there were “exceptional” circumstances for the hearing to be held in private, The Telegraph reported.
According to the outlet, Justices Sir Geoffrey Vos, Dame Victoria Sharp and Lady Justice King said the press could not be alerted to the private hearing ‘without risking the feared media storm’.
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“The hearing took place at an extremely sensitive time for the Sovereign and her family, and those interests would not have been protected had there been prolonged hearings reported in the press rather than a single occasion during which the full reasons for what was decided have been published,” the judges said in the decision.
Wills in the UK are usually registered publicly after a person dies. However, it has been common practice for more than a century to keep the wills of members of the royal family sealed.
“It is true that the law applies equally to the royal family, but that does not mean that the law produces the same results in all situations,” the judges said. “These circumstances are, as we have said, exceptional.
“We are not sure that there is a specific public interest in how the assets of the Royal Family are divided. A perceived lack of transparency could be the subject of legitimate public debate, but the (probate rules non-contentious) allow wills and their values to be concealed from public view in certain cases.
“The judge correctly applied the legal test in this case.”
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Philip, who spent more than seven decades supporting his wife as Britain’s oldest wife, died in 2021 aged 99. During his lifetime, the Duke of Edinburgh fulfilled more than 20,000 royal engagements to boost British interests at home and abroad. He led hundreds of charities, founded programs that helped UK school children take part in stimulating outdoor adventures and played a leading role in the education of his four children, including his eldest son. , Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.
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Philip is survived by the Queen, 96, and their four children – Charles, 73, as well as Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.