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Duke of Westminster Hugh Grosvenor’s Wedding, Explained – The Cut

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Photo: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Nothing is more fun to me than a rich person’s big, fabulous wedding. On Friday, Hugh Grosvenor will marry Olivia Henson, and while you probably don’t know who they are, you certainly know their friends. Prince William and Prince Harry are both invited to the big event, but only one is going — drama! While I don’t think that Rihanna will be performing at the reception, there is still a lot going on here. The Times referred to the nuptials as “the most royal nonroyal wedding of the year.” Grab a spot of tea and let’s get into it.

Who is Hugh Grosvenor?

Grosvenor is kind of the cartoon version of what you imagine a British aristocrat would be in 2024. He is the Duke of Westminster, a title he inherited from his father after his death in 2016. He’s the head of the Grosvenor Group, a multibillion-dollar real-estate company, another position he inherited from his father. At 33 and with a reported net worth of nearly $13 billion, he’s the richest person under 40 in the United Kingdom. King Charles is his godfather, and Grosvenor is a godfather to both Prince William’s son George and Prince Harry’s son, Archie.

The Grosvenor family has been a major part of British society for centuries and is able to date their lineage back to the year 1066. They have been in the business of London property development since 1720, when they started work on Mayfair, an area of London that still stands today. Now, the company owns over 1,500 properties in 60 countries. This is all to say, he’s very rich and his family has been very rich for a long time.

And his betrothed, Olivia Henson?

She is more “normal,” but normal in the same way that Kate Middleton was a “civilian.” In fact, Henson and Middleton are both alumni of the same boarding school, Marlborough College. Henson attended alongside Princess Eugenie. She went on to get a dual degree in Hispanic Studies and Italian at Trinity College, and she now she works at Belazu, a direct-to-consumer grocery company that specializes in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. She and Grosvenor reportedly met through mutual friends, just like the common folk.

How big of a deal is this wedding?

It is Shut Down the London Streets big. The couple is getting married at Chester Cathedral in London on Friday, and several roads have been or will be closed in the city center to account for the event. The couple seems to feel bad about this, though, and they are showing their gratitude to the people of London for putting up with them.

On a recent visit to a music charity he supports, Grosvenor told reporters, “I’m unbelievably excited. I also just wanted to make it very clear how unbelievably helpful people have been, how supportive they’ve been so far, which I’m unbelievably grateful for. Because I do realize that it’s going to be a big thing for the city. It’s going to be certainly a huge thing for us, so we’re just really grateful for all the help.”

The couple is funding the annual Summer Flowers project, paying for 100,000 flowers to be planted across the city. They’re also paying for people to get free ice cream on the day of the wedding, provided by three local businesses.

How much is all of this going to cost?

We don’t have a number, unfortunately, but it’s certainly millions. Grosvenor’s 21st-birthday bash back in 2013 reportedly cost £5 million and included performances from stand-up comedian Michael McIntyre and rap duo Rizzle Kicks. Imagine the party at the end of Saltburn, except no one died and Prince Harry was there. At the time, Grosvenor said that the party was “the beginning of a new era in my life.” God, being 21 is awesome. I imagine that he will be funneling just as much, if not more, cash into what might be a more momentous “new era in his life.”

What is the drama with the princes?

Right, this is the juicy part. As previously mentioned, Grosvenor is close with both William and Harry. William will be in attendance serving as an usher. (Kate Middleton will stay home as she continues to receive treatment for cancer.) Harry was invited but had to decline. In a People exclusive, a source said that there was an “understanding between the two friends” about Harry’s inability to attend.

Things are still fraught between Harry and his family. The last time he was in London, King Charles ordered all working royals to attend a garden party at the same time as Harry’s big church service commemorating the Invictus Games. William is still very much in Charles’s camp, and it would appear that Harry didn’t want to deal with all of that. Or maybe he just wanted to be a good bro and not detract from his pal’s big day. Either way, smart move.

What’s the Deal With Britain’s ‘Wedding of the Year’?

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