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Inside the Duke of Westminster and Olivia Henson’s ‘royal’ wedding: Prince William is set to be an usher, Prin – Daily Mail

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Already dubbed ‘the high society wedding of the year’ – and certainly a royal wedding in all but name – when Hugh Grosvenor, 7th Duke of Westminster, marries gourmet food firm executive Olivia Henson on Friday, the city of Chester will turn out to celebrate with them. 

With 400 guests attending the high profile nuptials, which were announced by the couple after the Duke proposed in April last year, the ancient pews of Chester Cathedral will be filled with the cream of the British aristocracy – and two heirs to the throne, with Prince William and Prince George both set for ‘prominent’ roles. 

The Duke was named the UK’s wealthiest person under 40 for the second year running in the Sunday Times Rich List last month – he inherited his fortune after the death of his father Gerald aged 64 in 2016 – and there’s likely no expense spared when it comes to ensuring his big day runs smoothly. 

Two-day road closures will begin in the city tomorrow and the planting of 100,000 flowers, paid for by the groom, commenced several weeks ago. 

Happy together: The couple met through friends in London and dated for two years before Hugh proposed in April last year

The Duke's family seat, Eaton Hall, is located near the village of Eccleston in Cheshire, making Chester Cathedral a natural venue for the couple to marry

Local schoolchildren are among the choristers who will sing the couple down the aisle, marking the Duke’s close connection with the city that’s closest to Eaton Hall, the family seat. 

Speaking ahead of the wedding about his affection for the Chester, the groom said he ‘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 realise that it’s going to be a big, big thing for the city.’ 

Here, ahead of the society wedding of the year, we take a closer look at what will be in store for the Duke of Westminster and Olivia Henson on their big day… 

PRINCE WILLIAM AND PRINCE GEORGE SET TO TAKE ‘KEY’ ROLES 

Prince William, one of the Duke’s closest friends, has been the surest royal attendee, confirming weeks ago that he will be in the pews.

The royal has known the Grosvenor family all his life. He was mentored for years by Hugh’s father, Gerald – who died aged 64 from a heart attack in 2016. Gerald was one of King Charles’ closest friends.  

It’s been widely reported that the Prince of Wales will play a key role in the nuptials, most likely acting as an usher when the high society guests file into Chester Cathedral ahead of the ceremony.

Friends have suggested the Prince of Wales was first asked in December, and at one stage, he was even said to have been earmarked as a best man. 

The Prince of Wales and Prince George, pictured at the FA Cup final last month, are set for another father/son outing, with William likely to be an usher for his close friend

Prince William, pictured with Grosvenor in 2004, was at one point in the running to be the Duke's best man

Earlier this month, a well-informed source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘William was asked to have a prominent role in the wedding and that’s what triggered Harry to decline an invitation

‘Apparently he [Harry] was put out by the request when he thought it should have been him.’

When Prince William’s eldest son Prince George was born in 2013, Hugh Grosvenor, known to friends as ‘Huey’, was named godfather.

It's unclear the role that Prince George, pictured at the Easter Mattins service in Windsor earlier this year, will take but it's rumoured the 10-year-old could also take a 'prominent role'

Prince George could also play a prominent role in the wedding, and will certainly by his father’s side during the ceremony. When he was asked to be godfather to the future king in 2013, the Duke was the youngest of the seven godparents.

If the young prince, 10, takes a starring role in the wedding, it will come as he prepares to head to secondary school in September.

THE TRIO OF LOCAL SCHOOL PUPILS WHO WILL SING FOR THE DUKE AND HIS BRIDE

Sweet music: Head Chorister of the Chester Cathedral Choir is Grace Crook, a Year 12 student at The Queen's School in Chester will lead the singing at the wedding

Isla Mills, a Year 10 pupil at the same school is also one of the choristers

The Duke of Westminster, 33, revealed to his local paper the Chester Standard that people within the religious community in Chester have been 'unbelievably helpful' in helping the couple with their wedding plans

Excited chorister Grace says in a video released by the school to celebrate the Duke's big day that singing at the wedding is 'a lot of pressure but it is such an incredible opportunity and I can¿t wait!'

A trio of local schoolchildren will help the Duke of Westminster and his soon-to-be bride celebrate their big day as choristers for the ceremony. 

Talented vocalists Grace Crook, Isla Mills and Cassie Lounds, who all attend The Queen’s School in Chester, have appeared in a video discussing their excitement at being part of the Duke of Westminster and his fiancée Olivia’s big day. 

Crook, who is currently approaching the end of Year 12 and is now Head Chorister of the Chester Cathedral Choir, said she ‘hadn’t looked back’ since first joining the singing collective several years ago. 

In the clip, the teenager says: ‘It is an absolute honour to now be the Head Chorister and I am really looking forward to the big day. It is a lot of pressure but it is such an incredible opportunity and I can’t wait!’ 

The Queen’s School’s head, Joanne Keville, said the school was delighted to have been asked to participate, saying: ‘We are thrilled and immensely proud of Grace, Isla, and Cassie for taking part in such a significant event and look forward to celebrating their continued success.

‘Their achievements are a shining example of what our students can accomplish when given the opportunity and support to pursue their passions. We look forward to hearing all about it when they return to school on the Monday after the wedding. What an amazing experience!’

CHESTER TRANSFORMED INTO A CITY OF 100,000 FLOWERS  

The city is being decorated with 100,000 flowers planted in displays across the city throughout the summer, paid for by the groom himself to mark his marriage

Cestrians – as the people of Chester are known – are enjoying a floral transformation of their city, after the Duke of Westminster gifted them 100,000 blooms.

For the rest of the summer planted displays will mark the high society marriage – and the couple are set to donate their wedding flowers to local charities and organisations.

Photos shared by the city’s Business Improvement District on X showed the behind the scenes of setting up the stunning floral displays several weeks ago.

Snaps show volunteers holding onto the blossoms and distributing them around the streets

Snaps pictured volunteers holding onto the blossoms and distributing them around the streets. 

‘As part of local celebrations for their wedding, the Duke of Westminster and Olivia Henson are delighted to sponsor this year’s Chester BID Flower Planting, along with a planting morning with the BID team and Chester Businesses,’ the social media caption read.

‘The colourful displays which feature vibrant pollinators – benefiting biodiversity as well as the amenity of the city, have now been planted and can be enjoyed across Chester high street and historic rows.’

The photos were also shared on the organisation’s Instagram page. 

GOING TO THE CHAPEL! HISTORIC CATHEDRAL WHERE CEREMONY WILL TAKE PLACE

The couple will tie the knot at Chester Cathedral; a venue that holds a special place in Hugh Grosvenor's heart

The Duke and future Duchess of Westminster will marry in the stunning Chester Cathedral, near to where Hugh, 33, grew up.

Speaking to his local newspaper, the Chester Standard, he revealed the reason why he chose the Cathedral to say his vows.

‘We’ve obviously got a long association with the cathedral as a family so we were here for my father’s memorial, my sister’s wedding and every Remembrance Sunday that I can attend is here,’ he said.

‘But I’m unbelievably excited and I also 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 realise that it’s going to be a big, big thing for the city.

The Duke's father's memorial took place at the cathedral, as well as his older sister Lady Tamara Grosvenor's 2004 wedding to Edward van Cutsem

‘It’s going to be certainly a huge thing for us and we’re grateful for all the help really.’

He and Olivia also discussed their plans to eventually move to Eaton Hall, where the Duke grew up.

The bride-to-be revealed it was an ‘easy decision’ to move to Chester eventually, and she explained the couple are already transitioning away from London and up to Chester as they plan for their future together. 

WELL-WISHERS ARE EXPECTED TO LINE THE STREETS BUT ARE WARNED OVER TWO-DAY ROAD CLOSURES 

Crowds are expected to line the streets on the big day just as they did for Hugh's sister's wedding in 2004 (pictured) - with well-wishers advised to use public transport

Speaking about his big day, Hugh said the occasion will be a ‘big, big thing for the city’.

Hundreds of well-wishers are expected to turn out to watch the couple drive through the streets as newlyweds, and the local council has announced road closures from tomorrow. 

The Chester Standard this week reported that advisories have been put in place around travelling into the city by car from Wednesday 5th to Friday 7th June.  

Cheshire West and Chester Council posted on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Please rethink journeys into the city centre on that day, avoiding travelling in by car if possible.’

The council has perhaps used the Duke’s sister Lady Tamara Grosvenor’s 2004 wedding to Edward van Cutsem as a blueprint.

On the day of her nuptials, crowds lined the Chester streets in order to catch a glimpse of the bride, groom and guests – who included Prince William, Prince Harry and the late Queen.

A report from the Crewe Chronicle after the wedding said the arrival of William and Harry at Chester Cathedral sent the crowds ‘wild’. 

It reported swarms of teenage girls screamed ‘marry me William’ as he walked into the Cathedral.

Meanwhile, more than 100 police officers were deployed around the city to ensure smooth sailing on the day – a security presence likely to be replicated on June 7.

FROM FAMILY TO ARISTO FRIENDS AND TV STARS: WHO ELSE IS ON THE GUEST LIST?

The Duke’s sisters

The wedding of Lady Tamara Grosvenor, and Edward van Cutsem.  The King and Queen chose to turn down their invitations to the 2004 wedding

Hugh Grosvenor is one of four siblings, and the only boy. When his father Gerald died from a heart attack in 2016 at just 64 years old, Hugh inherited the Dukedom as his only male heir.

Hugh’s sisters are Lady Tamara, 42, who is best friends with Prince William, Lady Edwina, 41, and Lady Viola, 29.

The siblings will of course be in attendance at the wedding with their families.

Lady Tamara married her husband Edward van Cutsem at the same venue in 2004 (in a service attended by the late Queen, Prince William and Prince Harry), which saw crowds lining the streets of Chester to get a look at the bride and groom, as well as the high society attendees.

She and her husband have three children; Jake, 14, Louis, 12 and Isla, nine.

Lady Edwina Grosvenor is a prison reform campaigner and chair of One Small Thing, an organisation which aims to redesign the justice system for women and their children.

She is married to TV historian Dan Snow, with whom she shares three children Zia, 12, Wolf, 10, and Orla nine.

Lady Viola Grosvenor married her husband Angus Roberts, of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, in 2022.

Dan Snow

Lady Edwina Grosvenor and her husband, TV historian Dan Snow, will be in attendance and Edwina's brother's wedding (pictured at Harry and Meghan's wedding in 2018)

TV historian Dan Snow, who married Lady Edwina Grosvenor in 2010, will be among the attendees at the wedding.

Speaking about the family into which he married, Dan previously told The Times:  ‘They’re a lovely, close family, really close. The four of them are a team. It’s extraordinary.’

Although he married into extraordinary wealth, Dan has spoken in the past about his wife’s philanthropic career, which may lead to the couple giving away their children’s inhertance. 

In contrast to her siblings, Lady Edwina decided to wed Dan in a much more low-key ceremony at Bishop’s Lodge in Woolton, Liverpool.

The couple were pictured at Harry and Meghan’s Windsor wedding at St George’s Chapel in 2018. 

Olivia’s Belazu colleagues

Olivia Henson is currently based in London and works for quality ingredient company, Belazu, which sells products such as harissa paste and preserved lemons for home cooks who want to up the ante on their recipes.

The company’s ethos is providing sustainable, good quality ingredients, and Olivia has been described as something of a foodie.

It’s not certain who from Olivia’s side of friends and family will be invited to the wedding – but it’s likely some of her colleagues will be in attendance. 

THE NO-SHOWS 

Harry and Meghan 

Harry and Meghan have already been excluded from next month's wedding, even though Hugh, who has an estimated fortune of £10billion, is reportedly the godfather of their son, Prince Archie. Hugh is believed to have felt the Sussexes' appearance could cause tensions with the Royal Family

As many senior members of the royal family prepare to attend the society wedding of the year, one couple will be notably absent from the festivities.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will remain in the US while their son Prince Archie’s godfather ties the knot.

Amid reports that the Prince of Wales will be an usher at the wedding, sources told the Mail on Sunday that Harry was ‘put out’ by the decision because he had always regarded himself as being closer to the Duke.

The source claimed: ‘William was asked to have a prominent role in the wedding and that’s what triggered Harry to decline an invitation. Apparently he [Harry] was put out by the request when he thought it should have been him.’ 

Referencing the lack of public details about the occasion, the source added: ‘Both the Palace and Hugh’s people decided to hold dear the operational part of the wedding once the leak about Harry not attending made the papers.’

Last year, it was claimed that Prince Harry had been ‘snubbed’ from the wedding, but a source close to the Sussexes was at pains to explain to US publication Page Six that both Meghan and Harry had in fact received invitations, but had jointly decided to decline.

Catherine, Princess of Wales

The Princess of Wales has not been pictured in an official appearance since Christmas Day 2023 and is not expected to attend the wedding due to her health

The Princess of Wales has not appeared in public since Christmas Day 2023, after she underwent abdominal surgery and doctors later found cancerous cells in her body.

Since then, Kate, 41, has been recuperating at home while undergoing a course of preventative chemotherapy. 

Aside from a few glimpses, such as an emotional video in which she confirmed the cancer diagnosis and a heavily disputed Mother’s Day photo which she later admitted had been ‘edited’, Kate has not made any public appearances so far this year.

As such, Kate is not expected to attend the wedding – but we can be certain she has received an invitation. 

King Charles and Queen Camilla

The society wedding of the year is less than three weeks away, yet King Charles and Queen Camilla have still not confirmed their attendance, I hear.

The attendance of King Charles and Queen Camilla at the society wedding of the year remains unconfirmed – and is now looking increasingly unlikely.

Reports have suggested Their Majesties have turned down invitations to the shindig as a result of a ‘snub’ directed at Camilla when Hugh’s sister, Lady Tamara wed Edward van Cutsem in 2004.

Camilla Parker Bowles, as she was then, had been told that she would not be allowed to sit with Prince Charles and would instead be seated several rows back and be made to arrive separately. 

This was because of royal protocol since Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip attended the ceremony, along with Princes William and Harry.

Tensions were heightened by reports that Emilie van Cutsem, the groom’s mother, and Camilla had fallen out after each is alleged to have criticised the behaviour of the other’s children.

Charles ultimately excused himself from the event with just days to go, saying he had to visit Warminster barracks to meet the families of soldiers serving in Iraq. Camilla was described as ‘otherwise engaged’.

According to royal author Sarah Bradford, Camilla was so infuriated that she told Charles the status quo was no longer acceptable. Their own engagement was announced three months later.

The King, who is Grosvenor’s godfather, is still undergoing cancer treatment and will be travelling to France the day before the ceremony next month with the Queen and Prince William to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy. 

THE MAYBES 

Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis

It is unclear whether Princess Charlotte, nine and Prince Louis, six, will be on the attendee list at the wedding (pictured in Sandringham on Christmas Day)

With their father, Prince William, and oldest brother Prince George, in attendance at the wedding, the younger Wales siblings may well be present at Hugh Grosvenor’s nuptials.

However, considering that the Princess of Wales is not expected to attend the wedding, it may be that Charlotte, nine, and Louis, six, remain at home with their mother. 

This post was originally published on this site

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