Rochester Consistory Court: Goodman Ch, November 2002
The petitioner sought a faculty for the opening of a family vault, for the removal of a bone from the remains of his paternal grandfather (who died in 1907) by a forensic scientist, for DNA testing to be carried out on the bone fragment and for the fragment to be reinterred in the soil above the vault. The petitioner sought the faculty in order to ascertain whether the deceased, in accordance with family legend, was the illegitimate son of the daughter of Queen Victoria, HRH Princess Louise. This would be ascertained by comparison of the deceased’s DNA with the DNA of the murdered Tsarina Alexandra, whose remains were discovered in Russia in 1991. A positive comparison would show that the mother of the deceased was one of the daughters of Queen Victoria, historically most likely to have been Princess Louise. The petitioner stated that he sought the faculty in order (i) to satisfy family curiosity;(ii) to inform the biographer of Sir Charles Locock (First Physician Accoucher to Queen Victoria and a member of the deceased’s adoptive family); and (iii) to inform nineteenth century historians generally. Applying the principles laid down in Re Blagdon Cemetery  Fam 299, 6 Ecc LJ 420, the chancellor found that there were insufficient grounds to rebut the presumption against exhumation. The petition was refused.
(2003) 7 Ecc LJ 237