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Last Updated: Monday, 17 December 2007, 17:26 GMT
Royal claimant's legal bid fails
Robert Brown
Robert Brown believes he could be Princess Margaret's illegitimate child
A man who believes he may be Princess Margaret's son has lost a bid for access to papers relating to her will.

The Family Division ruled in July that Jersey man Robert Brown's claims to see the documents were unfounded.

The Appeal Court later ruled Mr Brown might still have the right to test the principle of sealing royal wills.

On Monday, the same court agreed with executors for the princess, who argued they should not have to reveal the grounds on which her will was sealed.

The question of whether or not Mr Brown has the right to bring an action - known as standing - to question whether the will should have been sealed in the first place will be heard at an appeal already set for 21 January.

Mr Brown believes he could be the illegitimate child of Princess Margaret, who died in 2002 aged 71, and Group Captain Peter Townsend, a former RAF pilot.

'Baseless claim'

At the July hearing he sought a High Court order to unseal the wills of both Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother.

But Mr Brown was told he had no interest which had been adversely affected by the order of the former President of the Family Division, Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, to have the wills sealed in 2002.

The attorney general was also involved in the decision.

Family Division President Sir Mark Potter struck out Mr Brown's action, saying it was made "solely for the purpose of seeking to establish an imaginary and baseless claim".

Since 1911, the wills of senior members of the Royal Family have been officially sealed and not open to public inspection.

Although he was born on 5 January 1955 in Nairobi, Kenya, Mr Brown's birth was not registered until 2 February and the birth certificate gives the date of 4 June 1955.

Research carried out by Mr Brown has convinced him the princess was forced to give up her "secret" son and he claims a mystery Privy Council meeting on the day he was born will back up his claim.


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