Duke of Westminster to add modern touch to society wedding of the year – The Telegraph

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The Duke of Westminster will eschew the traditional English service used by other royal couples at the society wedding of the year, The Telegraph can reveal.

The marriage service of the Duke and duchess-to-be Olivia Henson will be in modern English to reflect the “contemporary couple” with a “personal” service followed by an “intimate gathering”, the Dean of Chester has revealed.

The couple have made specific choices for scripture and hymns that are very “significant for them”, the Very Reverend Dr Tim Stratford said.

As part of this, the service at Chester Cathedral will also be in contemporary language rather than traditional 17th century English in a decision that reflects the pair’s “contemporary” nature, he told The Telegraph.

‘Beautiful, meaningful’ service

The Dean will officiate the wedding at Chester Cathedral after Hugh Grosvenor, the seventh Duke of Westminster, insisted that local clergy help him tie the knot.

Lifting the curtain on the eve of the most anticipated wedding of the year, the Dean revealed that Friday’s service will feature a “very beautiful, meaningful, contemporary set of words” to express their love.

He told The Telegraph: “They’ve made some choices which are personal and very, very significant for them. And I think I can say that they’ve chosen to have the service in contemporary English, not in 17th century English, which is a choice.

“That’s a choice for everybody. So anybody who’s married in the Church of England could choose the 1662 prayer book or you can have a common worship, marriage service.

“The scripture itself, that’s about the words of the service and the promises you make to one another.

“So they’ve chosen to make their promises to each other in contemporary language, which I think has a lot of resonance with contemporary experience of what marriage is.”

The service will be in contemporary language to reflect the pair’s “contemporary” nature

Credit: Grosvenor 2024

In the Church of England, there are three forms of words for a marriage service.

Most weddings use the words from The Marriage Service from Common Worship, which is in contemporary language and offers the most flexibility in the choice of readings and prayers.

However, sometimes couples have special reasons for wanting a ceremony that uses old language, such as ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ instead of ‘you’ and may use the Book of Common Prayer (1662).

There is also an updated version of the 1662 service, known as Alternative Services: Series One, which was used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their wedding.

Dean Stratford added: “In a song-like language, or songs, you can express love more powerfully on anybody who comes into a church to make these promises, that’s what they’re asking for.

“And I think they have chosen a very beautiful, meaningful, contemporary set of words to use to do that.”

Around 400 guests, who have all been issued a strict no-gifts instruction, will descend upon the picturesque county town for the main event tomorrow on Friday, followed by a more intimate gathering the next day for family and close friends.

The wedding reception will take place at Eaton Hall, the Grosvenor family's ancestral seat, situated just a few miles outside of Chester

The wedding reception will take place at Eaton Hall, the Grosvenor family’s ancestral seat, situated just a few miles outside of Chester

Credit: David Goddard/Getty Images Europe

Chester will be decorated with 100,000 flowers paid for by the Duke to mark the occasion, which they will be planted in displays across the cathedral city throughout the summer.

The couple’s wedding, expected to be the glittering society event of the year, will see the Prince of Wales attending in the role of usher to support his friend, who is also godfather to Prince George.

The King is not expected to be in attendance, although he is the Duke’s godfather, as he continues to undergo cancer treatment and will be in France the day before to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

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