Newspaper granted the right to appeal against private hearing to seal Prince Philip’s Will

  • Posted

Last October, we reported the news that Prince Philip’s Will would be sealed, and therefore its contents remain secret, for a period of 90 years.

Now that decision, and by extension the privacy of royal Wills, faces scrutiny in the Court of Appeal after Lady Justice King accepted the Guardian newspaper’s right to challenge it on the basis of public interest.

When making his ruling on the matter last year, Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division, was persuaded that the hearing to determine the arrangements for sealing the Will should be conducted in private. This followed a reversal of his initial stance that a public hearing should take place.

Lady Justice King also accepted two other grounds for the appeal to go ahead which relate to whether the decision to hear the application privately ‘was itself wrong’ and whether the High Court erred by finding that the attorney general was ‘the only person who is recognised by public law as being entitled to represent public interest in a court of justice’.

In his role, Sir Andrew McFarlane has custody of the Wills of more than 30 deceased members of the royal family.