Here’s What Was Really In Princess Diana's Will

When Princess Diana passed away in a tragic 1997 car accident, most people probably imagined that her money and belongings would go to her boys, William and Harry. And her will, written in 1993, seemed pretty short and straightforward. But the story didn’t turn out as you might have expected. At the end of the probate process, some people were left deeply hurt by the provisions in her will, and the impacts are still felt to this day.

Princess Diana was an exception to the rule

It’s amazing that we were able to find out the contents of Princess Diana’s will at all; such an intimate document usually wouldn’t be available to the public. That’s because the English court is normally ordered to seal the will of a deceased member of the royal family, and for obvious reasons (security purposes, privacy purposes; the list goes on). After all, would you want random people to know what your will says? This has been the custom for more than 100 years. But as you probably could've anticipated, Princess Diana was an exception to the rule.

Protecting the Queen

To put this into perspective, not even the highest-ranking royals were exempt from the rule. For example, when Prince Philip passed away in 2021, the public didn't have access to his will, and the same rule was imposed when Queen Elizabeth died. The English High Court determined that the public won't see the contents of Prince Philip's will for just shy of a century. It ruled that the “dignity and standing” of Queen Elizabeth II needed to be upheld. This is uncommon for ordinary British wills, which anyone can usually request to see.

Public curiosity ran rampant

The judge who gave the ruling explained why. They said, “I accepted the submission that, whilst there may be public curiosity as to the private arrangements that a member of the Royal Family may choose to make in their will, there is no true public interest in the public knowing this wholly private information.” As one of the wealthiest people in the world, the Queen's fortune being handed to her children after her death was no surprise. But the situation was very different for Diana.

The will wasn't private

Her tumultuous past with the royal family was far from a secret, and people were desperate to know just how much money she had — and how the royals factored into her last will and testament... if they factored in at all. In 1998, the public won out, and it was decided that Princess Diana’s will wouldn’t remain a secret. Quite the opposite, in fact. The law firm responsible for her estate said it wouldn’t even ask for the will to be sealed. Lawyer Martyn Gowar of the Lawrence Graham law firm confirmed that he and his colleagues hadn’t taken this step. Why?