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‘Pale and nervous’ Duke of Westminster joins his bride-to-be Olivia Henson and 25 friends as they finish rehea – Daily Mail

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The Duke of Westminster looked ‘pale and nervous’ as he and his bride-to-be arrived at Chester Cathedral for a final rehearsal last night ahead of today’s society wedding of the year.

The couple were joined by a group of around 25 friends and family in two large Mercedes minibuses and were taken to a side entrance of the Cathedral close, beyond the reach of photographers.

Bride Olivia Henson, dressed in a blue patterned dress and red clogs looked ‘relaxed and radiant’ as she emerged from the Cathedral with the rest of the party around 5.30pm.

A small group of residents politely applauded as the couple emerged and Ms Henson smiled back at them after smiling and hugging a member of her party.

Bystander Elizabeth Cotton, 52, told MailOnline afterwards: ‘The Duke looked a little pale and nervous when he came out but she looked very relaxed.’

Another resident of the Cathedral precincts added: ‘It’s all very exciting, and we’re hoping to see Prince William tomorrow.’

Police vans in Chester Cathedral today, where the wedding ceremony will take place

Scores of boxes of flowers were delivered to the cathedral today by a fleet of vans

Later today the Duke, Hugh Grosvenor, 33, will wed Olivia Henson, 31, at Chester Cathedral – with guests jetting in from around the world.

The 7th Duke, the richest man in Britain under forty, worth £10.42 billion, is godfather to Prince Williams’s son Prince George and Prince Harry‘s son Archie.

To keep the peace between the warring brothers, only the Prince of Wales, who will be an usher at the service, will attend with Harry staying away.

There has also been speculation, as yet unconfirmed, that Prince George could be a pageboy at the service, but as Friday is a school day, it is thought unlikely.

As the big day approached, a fleet of florists’ vans could be seen yesterday delivering scores of boxes of white and purple foxgloves and wild flowers to decorate the 1,000-year-old Cathedral in the heart of the city.

A floral arch was being constructed around the huge West Door to the building.

On a road into the city near the entrance to the Grosvenor Hospital, staff had dressed a pair of mannequins in suit and wedding dress with photos of Hugh and Olivia’s faces attached.

Meanwhile, three miles away at the magnificent Grosvenor family seat, Eaton Hall, final touches were underway for a sumptuous reception for the 400 or so expected guests.

‘The Grosvenors have traditionally been a pretty introverted bunch,’ a local family friend told The Standard. ‘But they do two things very well: shoot at things and throw parties. Oh and buy land I suppose.’

Given the presence of the heir to the throne at the event, security precautions were also in evidence, with detectives seen chatting with local Cheshire Police officers outside the Cathedral.

Police sniffer dogs were seen checking drains around the precincts of the building for any traces of explosives.

Workmen were also seen touching up red telephone boxes in the city centre

The Duke will pay for free ice cream for locals from three local businesses. Pictured left to right: Craig Fermor from Diddy Donuts, Valentina Aviotti from Krum Gelato and Stephen Young from Cheshire Farm Ice Cream

The Dean of Chester, the Very Reverend Dr Tim Stratford told MailOnline that the couple were having a ‘contemporary’ service, rather than using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which includes the line that matrimony should not be entered into: ‘lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding.’

The Dean said: ‘In many ways this is like any other couple getting married, just on a larger scale, because they are somewhat in the public eye and some of their guests are definitely in the public eye.

‘The couple at the centre of this want to declare their undying love for one another in the presence of witnesses, family and friends and we are here to provide the stage.’

Eaton Hall, a mock French chateau set in 10,872 acres of Cheshire (50 acres of which is elaborate formal gardens) is where the couple intend to live after they are married, and is the perfect place for a party.

Details about the guest list and reception plans are being kept very private, at least for now, but the Duke has announced that the couple will be treating the citizens of Chester to free ice creams, gelato and sorbet tomorrow at three local independent cafes so they can join in the celebration.

A large security cordon will be erected around the cathedral due to the presence of so many high profile guests. Pictured: Sniffer dogs in Chester yesterday

A workman carries a bundle of chairs through the garden at Chester Cathedral

Temporary scaffolding has also been erected near the cathedral as workers trim plants

According to the Standard, there will in fact set to be two receptions. There is the big one on Friday after the service and, says a source, ‘I believe there is to be another gathering on Saturday for tenants, estate workers and local friends’. 

Cheshire Farm Ice Cream based in the heart of Chester Market, will be offering a range of Cheshire Farm single-scoop ice-creams or slices of a new lemon-sponge flavoured arctic roll. 

The lemon-flavoured arctic roll has been specially created in acknowledgement of The Duke and Olivia’s lemon-flavoured wedding cake that guests will be served at the wedding reception.

Ed Warrington, owner of Cheshire Farm Ice Cream outlets, said: ‘As a local business we’re delighted to be part of The Duke and Olivia’s initiative to provide free ice cream to the public in celebration of their wedding. 

‘All at Cheshire Farm Ice Cream wish them the very best for their wedding day.’

The couple have been scrupulous about not giving away details of the reception and ‘we have also been asked not to do any social media posting when we get there’, said a guest.

Preparations underway at Chester Cathedral

The 7th Duke, the richest man in Britain under forty, worth £10.42 billion, is godfather to Prince Williams's son Prince George and Prince Harry's son Archie. Harry will stay away from the wedding

It is likely to be a green event, both Hugh and Olivia are eco minded, and it is understood that flowers used at the ceremony and reception will be pressed and made into sustainable artworks afterwards, rather than simply being thrown away.

Olivia, who went to Marlborough College, like the Princess of Wales and Princess Eugenie, is senior account manager at Belazu, an environmentally friendly company which imports chef-quality, sustainably-sourced ingredients.

Hugh has already proved his green credentials many times since taking over the Grosvenor Estate which owns huge swathes of London and Westminster in particular, and has increasingly started to initiate various eco-friendly practices, including renewable energy projects, green building codes and biodiversity conservation efforts.

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