Prince Philip's sealed will is locked in a safe with the final wishes of more than 30 dead senior royals

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Prince Philip's sealed will is locked in a safe with the final wishes of more than 30 dead senior royals
Prince Philip's will is sealed for the next 90 years.WPA Pool/Getty Images
  • Prince Philip's will is locked away in a safe with the final wishes of over 30 dead senior royals.
  • The list of royals, revealed by a British High Court judge, includes King Edward VIII.

Prince Philip's will is locked away in the same box as the final wishes of over 30 dead senior royals, whose names — including former King Edward VIII — have been published in a new document from the British High Court.

The will of the late husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on April 9, is being kept along with 32 senior members of the royal family in a strongbox placed under the care of Sir Andrew McFarlane, High Court Judge and president of the Family Division. Philip's uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, and the Queen Mother are among the names listed.

"I am now custodian of a safe in which there are over thirty envelopes, each of which purports to contain the sealed will of a deceased member of the Royal Family," McFarlane said in the original hearing for the judgment to seal Philip's will on September 16.

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Prince Philip's sealed will is locked in a safe with the final wishes of more than 30 dead senior royals
Wills belonging to Prince Francis of Teck and the Queen Mother are safely stored in the box.Keystone/Getty Images, Terry Disney/Express/Getty Images

In the document released Wednesday, the court identified the full list of royals whose wills make up the contents of the box. The oldest is that of Prince Francis of Teck, the brother-in-law of King George V and grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, according to a 2007 report from The Guardian.

"The most recent additions were made in 2002 and are, respectively, the wills of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and Her late Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon," McFarlane said during the hearing in September.

The sealing of the Duke of Edinburgh's will has become a controversial subject, leading to a legal challenge from British newspaper The Guardian, the publication reported on November 18.

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During the September hearing, McFarlane ruled Philip's will would be sealed for an initial period of 90 years, which was considered "proportionate and sufficient." Only a lawyer representing Philip's estate, the Queen's private solicitors, the attorney general (AG), and the government's chief advisor were present for the ruling, according to court documents.

The media were not informed when or where it was taking place because the public interest was said to be represented by the attendance of the AG, the publication added.

A spokesperson for The Guardian told Insider the High Court's decision to "ban media organisations from the court hearing on the Duke of Edinburgh's will — without informing the press or allowing 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 added. "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."

Prince Philip's sealed will is locked in a safe with the final wishes of more than 30 dead senior royals
Prince Philip's will was sealed to protect the dignity and privacy of living royals.Tim Graham/Getty Images

Despite British law deeming that a person's will becomes a public document if it is prepared prior to their death, McFarlane ruled that royal wills should be treated with greater privacy "in order to protect the dignity and standing of the public role of the Sovereign and other close members of Her family."

According to the judgment, it has become convention over the course of a century for an application to be made to the president of the Family Division on behalf of senior royals to have their will sealed. An exception to this was Princess Diana, whose final will and testament is in the public domain and viewable on CNN.

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Representatives for Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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