Do the Royal Family leave wills? | Metro News – Metro.co.uk

Queen Elizabeth II
Any will the Queen might have made will not be made public for almost a century (Picture: Getty Images)

For most people it’s common practice to make a will at some point in their lives, detailing who will inherit their assets after they die.

But following the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the question of whether or not she may have left a will has once again come under the spotlight.

It’s been estimated that she has left behind a £430 million fortune and property, and King Charles III is set to inherit her personal fortune, which the monarch had accumulated courtesy of her art collection, jewellery, real estate holdings and investments.

But would she have made a will – and is it customary for members of the Royal Family to make a will?

Here’s what we know about the practice.

Do the Royal Family leave wills?

The short answer is yes – it’s thought to be fairly common for royals to write a will – although these are rarely made public.

Until the death of Edward VII in 1910, monarchs’ wills were available for public inspection – but since then, the Royal Family have chosen to conceal their wills.

The tradition began when Prince Francis, the brother-in-law of the future King George V, passed away at the age of 39.

The Prince was reported to be a famed gambler and womaniser, and upon his passing, his will revealed that he had left his prized family jewels to his mistress Ellen Constance, the countess of Kilmorey.

Keen to avoid a public scandal, the Prince’s sister, the Duchess of York, persuaded a judge to ban public knowledge of his will.

A draft of the will eventually emerged in Ireland, which is how the story surfaced.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Prince Philip, who died in 2021, will have his will remain private for 90 years (Picture: PA)

The exception to the rule was Princess Diana’s will, which was made public after her passing in 1997.

It’s unlikely that the Queen’s will would therefore be made public, as it would be kept in a locked safe at a secret London location for the next 90 years – meaning none of us are ever likely to see it.

Prince Philip’s will is also set to remain secret for this length of time. A legal challenge against this decision was rejected in 2021, a few months after the Prince’s death aged 99.

While wills in general may remain private, there are occasions when some of their information is made public

Following the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, it was revealed through official royal channels that she had bequeathed her entire estate to The Queen.

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