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Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 11:33 GMT
'Royal' claimant can pursue case
Robert Brown
Robert Brown can pursue his case, judges ruled
An accountant claiming to be the illegitimate son of Princess Margaret has won the right to a hearing into his claim to inspect her will.

Robert Brown, 53, who lives in Jersey, believes he could be the son of the princess, who died in 2002, and Group Captain Peter Townsend.

His previous attempts have been blocked, but the UK Court of Appeal ruled he was entitled to a hearing.

However, the Lord Chief Justice said Mr Brown's beliefs were "scandalous".

Lord Phillips said: "It is unfortunate that the important issues to which we have drawn attention should be raised by an application made by a person motivated by a belief that is both irrational and scandalous."

Public interest

Mr Brown was born on 5 January 1955 in Nairobi, Kenya, but his birth was not registered until 2 February.

The birth certificate gives the date he was born as 4 June 1955.

He also believes a mystery Privy Council meeting was held on the day he was born.

In was later that year Princess Margaret called off her wedding to Group Captain Townsend, a divorced father-of-two.

Mr Brown said his wish to inspect the royal wills was driven by his desire to know his parentage.

Sir Mark Potter, the president of the Family Division, ruled last July that Mr Brown's claim should be struck out as "vexatious" and an abuse of process.

But, in October, the Court of Appeal ruled it was arguable Mr Brown could assert a general public interest in whether it was right for royal wills to be sealed.

When Mr Brown returned to the appeal court in January, Geoffrey Robertson QC said his client's appeal raised important questions as to the circumstances in which wills, in particular those of the Royal Family, could be sealed and hidden from public inspection.

Royal claimant returns to court
21 Jan 08 |  Jersey

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