Prince Philip's will: This is why the monarchy keeps it a secret from the public

As much as the Royal Family live under the spotlight of the public eye, there is one aspect of their life that is kept secret.

The Monarchy: The secrets they keep under lock and key
© Chris Jackson / Getty Images
The Monarchy: The secrets they keep under lock and key

All senior Royal Family members’ wills are sealed and kept secret from the public eye, despite the fact that wills are usually publicly available in the UK.

Discover our latest podcast

Keeping secrets

The Guardianclaims that over the past century, the Monarchy has amassed nearly £187 million in assets outlined in more than 30 wills. However, the exact figure is unknown because the Royal Family get special treatment when it comes to making their wills available to the public.

Because the senior royals’ wills are sealed, there is no way of knowing how the assets have been redistributed and to whom. Leading to speculation about how Sarah Ferguson, Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, could afford to buy a £5 million property in Mayfair, when she was reportedly close to bankruptcy.

According to a royal expert, this practice of having close-door hearings dates back to 1911, when Prince Francis, Queen Mary’s brother, left jewellery to his mistress. It is said that Queen Mary intervened to keep this scandal quiet and the practice of sealing wills for royals has continued to this day.

According to the Guardian, documents dating back to the 1970s and 1980s show that the legal basis for sealing royal wills was ‘rather slender’ and that the practice was ‘somewhat haphazard’.

Newspapers fight back

When the late Prince Philip passed away in April 2021 a High Court ruled that his will, and its content, would remain secret for 90 years, BBC News reported. The hearing took place behind closed doors in September 2021.

The Guardiantook legal action and appealed the court’s decision to ban the media from the court hearing because they felt the decision ‘constitutes such a serious interference with the principle of open justice’.

However, they were unsuccessful in their endeavour. The Court of Appeal judges agreed with the High Court that the privacy and dignity of the Queen and her family needed to be preserved.

The Appeal judges said:

The 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.

Read more:

The Queen: You can holiday in her Balmoral estate for only £15 per night

The Queen, Prince Harry and Princess Diana have this in common

The Queen is going to invite over the new PM after results

Prince Harry joins forces with royal family to pay homage to Prince Philip Prince Harry joins forces with royal family to pay homage to Prince Philip