Prince William Misses Rehearsal Before Duke of Westminster’s Wedding as He Takes on Royal Duty – PEOPLE

4 minutes, 9 seconds Read
  • Prince William wasn’t photographed at the June 6 rehearsal for the wedding of his friend the Duke of Westminster
  • The Prince of Wales stepped out in France that day to attend ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings
  • Prince William is set to serve as an usher at society wedding of the year on June 7

Prince William appeared to miss the rehearsal for the Duke of Westminster’s wedding despite having a special role at the ceremony.

The Prince of Wales, 41, was not photographed at Chester Cathedral in northern England on June 6, where his friend Hugh Grosvenor, the 7th Duke of Westminster, and his fiancée Olivia Henson had a run-through before their nuptials at the historic church on Friday.

Prince William is set to serve as an usher at what’s considered the British society wedding of the year, but he had royal duties to attend to first. On June 6, the royal stepped out in Normandy, France to attend two ceremonies commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, which changed the course of World War II.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, First Lady Jill Biden, President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Brigitte Macron and Prince William at the international commemorative ceremony at Omaha Beach marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings on June 6, 2024 in Normandy, France.

Lou Benoist – Pool/Getty

In France, Prince William notably represented his father, King Charles, at the international commemorative service at Omaha Beach, where he joined over 25 heads of state, fellow European royals and veterans from around the world at the ceremony remembering the sacrifices made on June 6, 1944.

King Charles and Queen Camilla also traveled to France to attend a separate service at the British Normandy Memorial on June 6, in a trip significant as the King’s first overseas since resuming public-facing duties after Buckingham Palace announced in February that he was diagnosed with cancer

Meanwhile, preparations are underway in the U.K. for the Duke of Westminster’s highly-anticipated wedding. According to Hello! magazine, the bride and groom were joined at the rehearsal by Hugh’s sister, Lady Edwina, and her husband, television presenter Dan Snow.

Olivia Henson and Hugh Grosvenor visit Chester Cathedral in Cheshire, England, on May 7, 2024.

Victoria Tetley / Grosvenor 2024

The Dean of Chester Cathedral, the Very Reverend Dr. Tim Stratford, told the outlet that it was “quite the decision” for Hugh, 33, and Olivia, 31, to have their wedding there. The church has long been linked to the Grosvenor family and is not far from their ancestral seat, Eaton Hall, where Hugh proposed in April 2023 and where the wedding reception will be held.

“They could have chosen a remote island, but they chose here,” Stratford told Hello!, adding that the bride “has fallen in love with Chester.”

Before Hugh and Olivia announced their engagement after two years of dating in April 2023, he was widely regarded as one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors. The Duke of Westminster inherited his title at age 25 when his father died, and his family’s fortune was estimated at $12.8 billion on The Sunday Times‘ Rich List 2024. In the update published a few weeks before the wedding, the groom was reported to be the richest person in the U.K. under age 40 and the 14th wealthiest overall. The Grosvenor family’s vast real estate portfolio includes over 300 acres of the posh London neighborhoods Mayfair and Belgravia, along with holdings in more than 40 cities around the world.

Hugh’s family tree is also full of royal connections, and he is a godson of King Charles. His mother, Natalia, is a childhood friend of the late Princess Diana (a godmother to Lady Edwina) and a godparent of Prince William. Hugh is also a godfather to two young members of the next generation: Prince William’s eldest son Prince George, 10, and Prince Harry‘s son, Prince Archie, 5.

Hugh Grosvenor (second from left) and Prince William (far right) at the official handover of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre on the Stanford Hall Estate in Nottinghamshire on June 21, 2018.

OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

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PEOPLE confirmed earlier during the wedding week that the Duke of Sussex, 39, was invited to Hugh and Olivia’s wedding. However, there was an acknowledgment on both sides that it would be difficult for him to attend. 

The Duke of Sussex sends “his love and support and admiration for the couple” for their wedding day, the source tells PEOPLE.

A shot of Chester Cathedral in December 2021.

PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

On June 7, Prince William is set to help some of Hugh and Olivia’s 400 guests find their seats at Chester Cathedral when he acts as an usher, a role he’s played in the same church before. Prince William and Prince Harry served as ushers at the church for the wedding of Hugh’s sister, Lady Tamara, to Edward van Cutsem in 2004 in a celebration that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip attended.

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