Why Harry is a no-show at the Duke of Westminster’s ‘society wedding of the year’… but William will play a s – Daily Mail

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Prince Harry has agreed to stay away from the wedding of one of his closest friends for fear of his feud with his brother William overshadowing the event, it is claimed.

A phone call from Hugh Grosvenor, the 7th Duke of Westminster, saw the Duke of Sussex invited to his nuptials with fiancée Olivia Henson at Chester Cathedral on Friday.

The event is set to be the high society wedding of the year, and there had been much speculation as to which of Harry and William would receive an invitation given the brothers’ ongoing estrangement.

However, it has been claimed that Harry will not be there after the California-based royal reached a ‘civilised understanding’ with Hugh to bow out of attending, The Times reports.

It means that the Prince of Wales is free to be an usher for Hugh, who has been friends with the pair since childhood, avoiding the potentially awkward situation of having to show Harry to his seat during the ceremony.

There had been much speculation about whether Princes William and Harry - both of whom a good friends with the duke - would attend given their ongoing estrangement. Pictured: Harry and William at the unveiling of a statue of their mother Princess Diana in Kensington Palace in July 2021

Hugh has been close to William and Harry since he was a child. Pictured: Prince William stands in front of Hugh at the wedding of the duke's older sister, Lady Tamara Grosvenor in Chester in 2004

It is claimed that Prince Harry made a 'civilised agreement' with Hugh not to attend his wedding. Pictured: The Duke of Sussex at Westminster Abbey on May 6 for the Coronation of King Charles III

William will have Prince George – who is Hugh’s godson, as is Harry’s eldest child Prince Archie – alongside him, with reports suggesting the 10-year-old is set to play a prominent role in the wedding.

It was claimed that month that Harry – who at one point had been earmarked as Hugh’s best man – was unhappy that his brother was due to be given the key role. 

A well-informed source told The Mail on Sunday last month: ‘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.’

Last year, it was claimed that 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.

Despite the awkwardness surrounding his wedding, Hugh – who is normally publicity-shy – remains good friends with both Harry and William and he could link up with his California-based friend if he fulfils his goal of representing Great Britain in clay pigeon shooting at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Hugh, known as ‘Hughie’ to his friends, is one of Britain’s wealthiest landowners after inheriting his father’s £10billion estate at the age of just 25 in 2016 following the death of his 64-year-old father from a heart attack.

Once dubbed Britain’s most eligible bachelor, he was introduced to Olivia by mutual acquaintances in 2021 before announcing their engagement in April last year.

The Duke of Westminster and his fiancée Olivia Henson were introduced to each other by mutual friends. Pictured: Hugh and Olivia visiting three charities supported by the Westminster Foundation in Chester last month

The event will take place at Chester Cathedral on Friday, June 7. Pictured: The outside of Chester Cathedral

A total of 400 people are set to attend the wedding. Pictured: A view of the choir and central nave inside Chester Cathedral

After the wedding service at Chester Cathedral, guests will then enjoy a grand reception at nearby Eaton Hall. Pictured: An aerial view of Eaton Hall in Cheshire

Harry and Meghan have already been excluded from the wedding, even though Hugh is reportedly the godfather of their son, Prince Archie. Pictured: Harry and Meghan at the Armed Forces Complex in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 11, during their tour of the country

King Charles and Queen Camilla are not expected to attend the ceremony as the monarch recovers from cancer treatment and visits France the day before. Pictured: Charles and Camilla on HMS Iron Duke in September 2023

Princess Catherine is also not expected to attend as she continues her recovery from chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year. Pictured: The Princess of Wales at the Christmas Day service in Sandringham, Norfolk, last year

A total of 400 people have been invited to the Cathedral ceremony which will be followed by a reception at Hugh’s 11,000-acre Eaton Hall estate, with the duke said to be ‘nervous’ but also ‘incredibly excited’ ahead of the big day.

The Times reports that among the those expected to be in attendance are members of the Van Cutsem family, who are close to the Windsors, and linked to the Grosvenors by marriage – Hugh’s sister Lady Tamara wedded Edward van Cutsem in the same venue in 2004.

Other attendees will include Lady Zoe Warren, the aristocratic yoga guru and youngest child of the 14th Earl of Galloway, and her husband, Jake Warren, a godson of Princess Diana and son of Queen Elizabeth II’s racing manager, John Warren.

Aside from William and George, it appears that royals will be few and far between, with the Princess of Wales, as well as King Charles and Queen Camilla not expected to attend.

William’s wife Princess Catherine will stay away as she continues her own recovery from chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer following major abdominal surgery earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Charles – who is Hugh’s godfather – is still recovering from cancer treatment and will have travelled across the Channel to France to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings less than 24 hours before the wedding takes place.

There city of Chester itself is expected to see thousands of people flock into its walls to witness the occasion in scenes reminiscent of his sister’s wedding, where an estimated 4,000 people lined the streets.

Those who come this time around will be able to treat themselves – the duke has reportedly paid three independent business to give out free ice cream on the day of the wedding.

Crowds are expected to line the streets on the big day just as they did for Hugh's sister's wedding in 2004. Pictured: Scores of people look on outside Chester Cathedral for the wedding of Lady Tamara Grosvenor in November 2004

Lady Tamara Grosvenor, and Edward van Cutsem were betrothed to each other in the same venue that Hugh is getting married in this week. Pictured: Lady Tamara and Edward van Cutsem leave Chester Cathedral after their wedding in November 2004

Lady Edwina Grosvenor and her husband, TV historian Dan Snow, will be in attendance and Edwina's brother's wedding. Pictured: Dan Snow and Lady Edwina at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle in May 2018

He has also made a contribution to the city’s summer flowers, with a source close to him telling The Times that the duke was keen to pay back his ‘great personal connection to the area’.  

It’s a stark contrast to the ceremonies of his other sisters – Lady Edwina is married to TV presenter Dan Snow, while Lady Viola is wedded to Dragoon Guards officer Angus Roberts – both of which took place in private.

Raised at Eaton Hall, Cheshire, Hugh Grosvenor was privately educated at Ellesmere College before obtaining a BSc in Countryside Management from Newcastle University.

After his graduation, Grosvenor worked in estate management at the food and agriculture company Wheatsheaf Group, an investment business based in the Eaton estate and owned by the Grosvenor Group.

Afterwards, he held an account manager position at sustainability company bio-bean, which turns coffee-related waste into bioproducts such as biofuels and logs.

The future Duchess of Westminster also comes from a wealthy background. Olivia descends from the Hoare banking family as well as the Marquesses of Bristol and the Dukes of Rutland, according to the Telegraph.

Olivia and Hugh announced their engagement on April 23, 2023, after two years of dating. Pictured: The pair visiting charities in Chester in May

After the death of his father, Hugh became the 7th Duke of Westminster and inherited a £10billion estate. Pictured: The late Queen is pictured with the late Duke of Westminster Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, who died suddenly in 2016

PIctured: Prince Harry and Prince William at the wedding of Edward van Cutsem and their friend's sister Lady Tamara Grosvenor at Chester Cathedral in 2004

Pictured: Hugh Grosvenor attends the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle with Charlie van Straubenzee at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018

A life-long friend for each of the brothers, Hugh Grosvenor is thought to be the only pal both chose to mentor their children. Pictured: At the wedding of Harry's school friend Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks in 2018

The outlet also says her uncle is the Grand Master of Scottish freemasons and her father is stockbroker Rupert Henson.

Olivia reportedly also has a 29-year-old brother who works in asset management and a 26-year-old sister who’s in a brand relationships role.

She is also said to speak Spanish and Italian after completing a Hispanic Studies and Italian degree at Trinity College in Dublin.

Much like the Princess of Wales, Olivia is understood to have attended the elite Marlborough College, and before that was at the equally revered Dragon School in Oxford along with fellow alum Emma Watson.

She worked at Daily Dose LDN and No1 Rosemary Water before landing a role at Belazu – a B Corp ingredients brand – where she is currently a Key Account Manager, in 2019.

Hugh previously dated property and recruitment consultant Harriet Tomlinson, but the couple, who met at £6,000-a-term day school Ellesmere College in Shropshire, split in 2020. 

The Duke also supports the rehabilitation of wounded or injured members of the Armed Forces and donated £2.5million to the Health Service when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, but said he was so ‘humbled’ by the work of doctors and nurses he wanted to give another £10million. 

MailOnline has contacted the Duke of Sussex’s representatives for comment.  

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