Duke of Windsor’s Will Un-Sealed

20th November 2017

In a rare departure from tradition the President of the Family Division has ordered that the will of the late Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII until his abdication, be un-sealed and a copy provided to the Queen’s Royal Archives. Royal wills are, in accordance with long-standing practice, sealed after being read and are not generally open to inspection, as discussed in the case of Brown v Executors of the Estate of HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and others [2008] EWCA Civ 56, in which the applicant made the bizarre claim to be Princess Margaret’s illegitimate son.


The Duke’s will was the subject of some speculation at the time of his death and remains unavailable for public inspection, but this application by the archives was granted in order to allow the Archives to identify the current holder of copyright rights in relation to his correspondence, which are now extensively used and referred to, and to complete their records which include every royal will since George III.


The Judgment citation is [2017] EWHC 2887 (Fam).

Associated Members

Aidan Briggs

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