Queen Mother and Princess Margaret’s wills in secret High Court safe

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She is among the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret Royals whose wills are secretly stored in a High Court judge’s vault, it has been revealed during a battle over the privacy of Prince Philip’s last wishes.

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The Duke of Edinburgh’s will was sealed in July and confined in the vault for the next 90 years, after a secret hearing before Sir Andrew MacFarlane, the Chairman of the High Court’s Family Division.

But in September the judge published a ruling outlining what had happened, revealing for the first time the ambiguous legal process used to keep Royal Wills private.


Sir Andrew said more than 30 wills are in the vault, and has now published a list of the royals involved. The Queen Mother and the last wishes of Princess Margaret, who died in 2002, are the last names on the list before Prince Philip.

King Edward VIII – who became Duke of Windsor after abdicating the throne in 1936 – is also on the list, along with Queen Victoria’s grandson and children of George V and Queen Mary.

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In his September ruling, Sir Andrew said that special procedure was needed “to enhance the protection afforded to the private life of this unique group of individuals, so as to protect the dignity and prestige of the public role of the sovereign and other close members”. his family”.

But they decided to disclose the existence of the vault for the sake of transparency.

“The principle that there should be a level of transparency as to the fact that a Royal Will, in this case sealed to HRH The Prince Philip, has now been established”, he ruled.

“The fact that many other wills have been similarly sealed over the past century and, under those circumstances, the same level of transparency must now apply to those wills, given the fact that they have been sealed and currently The custody of the chairman of the family division should be made public by name in the list.”

Sir Andrew said that publishing the list, which happened after no objections were received, was not intended to open the floodgates for transparency requests.

“The publication of the list is, however, not an invitation for any person or agency to apply for the opening of any or all the will”, he said.

In the published list, the name of banker Leopold de Rothschild was originally included but was then dropped by the court. He was a close friend of Edward VII, but was not a member of the royal family, and his inclusion was “mistakenly”.

The Guardian has legally challenged the decision to exclude the media from hearings at Prince Philip’s will, arguing it was a serious interference with the principle of open justice.

The media group is demanding a re-hearing of the case.

Here is the full list of royals whose wills are in the judge’s vault:

Prince Francis Joseph Leopold Frederick of Teck – February 1911

Alexander William George, Duke of Fife – May 1912

Prince Maurice Victor Donald of Battenberg – May 1917

Dowager Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz – December 1920

Lord Leopold Louis Mountbatten – June 1922

Helen Frederick Augusta, Queen of Albany – December 1922

Princess Helena Augusta Victoria, Princess Christian

Princess Frederica of Great Britain Sophia Maria Henrietta Amelia Theresa – May 1927

Princess Louise Victoria Alexandra Dagmar, Princess Royal – April 1931 and June 1934

Princess Victoria Alexandra Olga Marie – March 1936

Queen Maud Charlotte Mary Victoria of Norway – February 1939

Prince Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert of Connaught – March 1939

Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, Duchess of Argyll – February 1940

Prince Arthur William Patrick Albert, Duke of Connaught – March 1942

Prince George Edward Alexander Edmund, Duke of Kent – January 1943

Princess Beatrice Marie Victoria Fedor of Battenberg – May 1943

Maude Alexandra Victoria Georgina Barth, Countess of Southesque – March 1946

Princess Louise Sophia Augusta Amelia Helena – May 1948

Queen Mary – August 1953

Princess Franziska Josefa Louise Augusta Maria Christian – March 1957

Princess Alexandra Victoria Alberta Edwina Louise, Princess Arthur of Connaught – April 1959

Princess Victoria Alexandra Alice Marie, Princess Royal – December 1965

Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent – October 1968

Prince William Henry Andrew Frederick of Gloucester – October 1972

Prince Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David, Duke of Windsor – November 1972

Lady Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth Ramsay – April 1974

Prince Henry William Frederick Albert, Duke of Gloucester – September 1974

Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas, Earl Mountbatten of Burma – February 1980

Princess Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline, Countess of Athlone – June 1981

Prince George Waldemar Karl Axel of Denmark – May 1987

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon – June 2002

Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother – April 2002


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