A wedding fit for a £9.8billion duke: Harry and Meghan won’t be there… but almost all the rest of high socie

A royal wedding in all but name, when Hugh Grosvenor, 7th Duke of Westminster, marries gourmet food firm executive Olivia Henson in June, the ancient pews of Chester Cathedral will be crammed with the cream of the British aristocracy.

The groom’s godfather, King Charles, along with Camilla are expected to be guests, while the Prince of Wales is rumoured to be best man and Prince George – who is the 32-year-old Duke’s godson – is likely to be a pageboy.

Though, as with many weddings, there has already been a hitch, with headlines earlier this month saying ‘Harry and Meghan excluded from Duke of Westminster’s wedding in fresh blow in feud between Harry and William’.

Here we reveal everything you need to know about the nuptials of the billionaire Duke and his English rose.

Hugh Grosvenor, 7th Duke of Westminster, is set to marry gourmet food firm executive Olivia Henson in June

The family fortune

Hugh’s father Gerald, who died aged 64 from a heart attack in 2016 just before he was due to host a party to mark the start of the grouse shooting season, described his son as having been ‘born with the longest silver spoon anyone can have’.

The family’s fortune dates back to the Norman Conquest and is now estimated to be worth £9.8billion. Its Grosvenor Group owns 300 acres in the wealthiest postcodes in central London, such as Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as vast country estates in Cheshire and Lancashire, and an art portfolio that includes works by Velazquez, Rembrandt and Lucian Freud.

Hugh is even said to have more land than the King.

Family estates

Built in the style of a French chateau and set in magnificent parkland, the family seat, Eaton Hall, is located near the village of Eccleston in Cheshire.

The 10,872-acre estate includes three villages of 435 houses and 15 farms. The family also owns the 96,000-acre Reay Forest Estate in Scotland, the 23,500-acre Abbeystead Estate in Lancashire and the 37,000-acre La Gargantua estate in Cordoba, Spain.

Built in the style of a French chateau and set in magnificent parkland, the family seat, Eaton Hall, is located near the village of Eccleston in Cheshire

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Built in the style of a French chateau and set in magnificent parkland, the family seat, Eaton Hall, is located near the village of Eccleston in Cheshire

The Bride

The daughter of stockbroker Rupert Henson and his wife Caroline, 31-year-old Olivia and her siblings Jasper, 29, and Emilia, 26, are descended from John Manners, the 5th Duke of Rutland, and distant cousins of the Manners sisters Lady Violet, Lady Alice and Lady Eliza who were known as the ‘bad-Manners sisters’ for their frequent appearances in the tabloid press.

Olivia studied at the Princess of Wales’s alma mater, Marlborough College, where fees are £15,665 a term. She was a contemporary of Prince Andrew’s daughter, Princess Eugenie.

She graduated with a 2:1 in hispanic studies and Italian from Trinity College, Dublin, then worked for a botanical drinks firm and juice company before moving to the ethical food business Belazu.

It sources ‘loved and trusted chef-grade ingredients’ from the Middle East and Mediterranean for products such as truffle and artichoke pesto ‘for chefs, food lovers and friends’.

This led Tatler magazine to comment: ‘This is a betrothal of rose harissa and preserved lemons to partridge, port and estate-shot venison’.

The Duke of Westminster was one of the aristocrats who led the procession at King Charles's Coronation

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The Duke of Westminster was one of the aristocrats who led the procession at King Charles’s Coronation

The Groom

Hugh was one of the aristocrats who led the procession at King Charles’s Coronation.

Having been badly bullied himself at Harrow School, his father, the 6th Duke, kept his own children closer to home, sending Hugh to a local primary school before putting him in the private co-ed Ellesmere College, in Shropshire, where he was a day pupil and captain of the football team.

He graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in countryside management and then joined the family firm, the Grosvenor Group, working in the UK, San Francisco and Hong Kong, as well as overseeing donations through its charitable arm, the Westminster Foundation.

A keen skeet shooter, he has represented Team GB at competitions.

The Groom’s Mother

Dowager Duchess Natalia Grosvenor (who is known as ‘Tally’), 64, is a descendent of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia and the House of Romanov as well as the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.

The duchess is Prince William’s godmother and owns a vineyard in Portofino, north-western Italy, described as a ‘corner of paradise’, which produces £32 bottles of white vermentino wine.

Her grandmother, Lady Zia Wernher, whose family seat was Luton Hoo, was a great friend of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Proposal

The couple met through friends in London and dated for two years before Hugh proposed in April.

‘The Duke of Westminster and Miss Olivia Henson are delighted to announce they are engaged to be married,’ a spokesman for the Grosvenor family revealed in a statement. ‘Members of both their families are absolutely delighted with the news.’

Chester Cathedral's long association with the Grosvenor family means it was an obvious choice to stage the wedding

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Chester Cathedral’s long association with the Grosvenor family means it was an obvious choice to stage the wedding

The Wedding

Chester Cathedral’s long association with the Grosvenor family means it was an obvious choice to stage the wedding.

It is said to have the ‘finest medieval choir stalls in existence’ and the ‘best pre-Raphaelite mosaics in the country’.

The groom’s sister, Lady Tamara, married there, too, with guests arriving by private jet, helicopter and chauffeured limousine.

It was the first cathedral in the north of England to install solar panels on its ancient monastic building.

The Diocese of Chester announced in 2021 that it was working towards becoming an eco diocese.

The guest list

The Royal A-listers apart, others expected include the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra, the entire van Cutsem clan and the Manners family.

The Groom’s ex-girlfriends

Notoriously discreet, Hugh dated recruitment consultant Harriet Tomlinson, the daughter of a curtain factory boss who grew up a few miles from his family home.

Hugh then went out with Emily Younger, a director at auctioneers Christie’s, and they were reported to have spent some of Covid lockdown in a bubble together.

The Groom’s 21st birthday

In 2012, Hugh threw a party, reputedly costing £5million, in the grounds of Eaton Hall. Attended by 800 guests, including Prince Harry, the dress code was ‘black tie and neon’.

Comedian Michael McIntyre performed over dinner, hip-hop stars Rizzle Kicks played a musical extravaganza and a ‘light show’ went off at midnight.

The starter – a ‘tasting plate’ of half a scotch egg, smoked salmon and Morecambe Bay potted shrimps, was followed by steak and chips.

Shooting buddies

When Hugh was born in 1991, the then Prince Charles gave him three shotguns as a present.

The Grosvenors’ Spanish holdings include one of the most exclusive hunting estates in western Europe, where William and Harry have enjoyed hospitality.

William was condemned by animal activists for hunting boar, deer and partridge, before he launched a high-profile appeal to stop illegal wildlife hunting.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not expected to attend the wedding - although it appears that 'recollections vary' as to why

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not expected to attend the wedding – although it appears that ‘recollections vary’ as to why

No-shows

One couple not expected at the wedding are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, although it appears that ‘recollections vary’ as to why.

Initially it was reported that Hugh decided not to invite the couple because of tensions between them and the Royal Family.

However, sources close to Prince Harry subsequently insisted that he had been sent a ‘save the date’ notice, but decided it would be ‘too awkward’ to attend.

The Duke's coat of arms has the motto 'Virtus non stemma' – meaning virtue, not pedigree, is the mark of nobility

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The Duke’s coat of arms has the motto ‘Virtus non stemma’ – meaning virtue, not pedigree, is the mark of nobility

The Coat of Arms

The Duke’s coat of arms has the motto ‘Virtus non stemma’ – meaning virtue, not pedigree, is the mark of nobility.

This fits his cerebral and philanthropic character, having donated £12.5million for Covid relief and £1million to Oxford University for research into mental health.

Links to William and Kate

Prince William has known the Grosvenor family all his life. He was mentored for years by Hugh’s father. King Charles was one of Hugh’s father’s closest friends.

The groom’s widowed mother is one of William’s godmothers. William was an usher at the wedding of Hugh’s sister, Lady Tamara Grosvenor, to another royal intimate, Edward van Cutsem.

Hugh is Prince George’s godfather. William read the Garter prayer at the 6th Duke’s funeral, asking God to grant that ‘all those who go out as leaders before us’, including ‘the men of wealth’, may ‘serve as a wholesome salt unto the earth’.

William and Kate flew to France in 2016 on the 6th Duke’s private jet – which he only bought so he could smoke on board.

Prince William has known the Grosvenor family all his life and was an usher at the wedding of Hugh's sister, Lady Tamara Grosvenor, to another royal intimate, Edward van Cutsem

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Prince William has known the Grosvenor family all his life and was an usher at the wedding of Hugh’s sister, Lady Tamara Grosvenor, to another royal intimate, Edward van Cutsem

The Groom’s Sisters

Thanks to the principle of primogeniture, despite having three older sisters, Hugh inherited his father’s title and estate. His oldest sister, Lady Tamara, 44, graduated in divinity from Newcastle University.

Her 2004 wedding to King Charles’s godson Edward van Cutsem made the front pages after Charles and Camilla dropped out at the last minute because, being unmarried, they could not sit together.

Lady Edwina, 42, who was one of Princess Diana’s goddaughters, is a criminologist, social campaigner and trustee of The Clink Charity that helps stop re-offending by ex-prisoners. She is married to TV historian Dan Snow.

Lady Viola, 31, an ambassador for the charity Kidscape, is married to Dragoon Guards officer Angus Roberts.

Hugh, third right, and his sisters Edwina, far left, Tamara, second right and Viola, far right, plus their mother and Edwina’s husband Dan Snow

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