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The clues we missed that the Duke of Westminster's society wedding will break from tradition

Hugh Grosvenor's engagement announcement and wedding venue have already turned heads

Hugh Grosvenor, Prince George's godfather, in a grey three-piece suit in the sunshine
Nichola Murphy
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
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The countdown is on for the next big society wedding this year, as the 7th Duke of Westminster – hailed as Britain's youngest billionaire – exchanges vows with Olivia Henson on 7 June

If former royal adjacent weddings are anything to go by, excited fans will not receive any major updates about the big day until it happens. Like many high-profile couples before them, they are expected to remain tight-lipped about the wedding dress, the flowers and the cake.

Prince George’s godfather Hugh Grosvenor will wed food ingredient company account manager Olivia Henson
Hugh and Olivia announced their engagement with a casual photo taken in their garden

But they may not follow every aspect of the age-old format we've seen from Hugh Grosvenor's close friends the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Could Prince George's godfather Hugh and his partner Olivia be set to break the mould with their modern wedding?

Cast your mind back to the couple's engagement announcement in April 2023, when we had our first clue that they were taking a relaxed approach to their nuptials. After becoming engaged at Hugh’s family home Eaton Hall, Cheshire, they posed for a casual photo in the garden.

Prince George and Prince William at Wimbledon© Getty
The 7th Duke of Westminster is one of George's godparents

Hugh donned an open blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up as he placed an arm affectionately around his new fiancée Olivia. Instead of carefully picking out formal attire for an engagement photocall – such as Princess Kate's blue Issa dress and Princess Eugenie's floral Erdem gown – Olivia showcased her laid-back wardrobe in a ribbed turquoise T-shirt with a cropped hem that finished just above her white elasticated skirt, flashing the tiniest section of her midriff.

Her long dark hair flowed past her shoulders in effortless waves while her makeup was kept minimal. But perhaps the most striking part of the photo was the lack of an engagement ring!

Royal and high society engagement announcements often spark a fan frenzy over the chosen ring – some are heirlooms like Princess Kate's while others are custom designed like Princess Beatrice's – but Olivia chose to keep an air of mystery with the photo cutting off just before her left hand.

"The Duke of Westminster and Miss Olivia Henson are delighted to announce they are engaged to be married," the pair said in a statement. 

Hugh Grosvenor arrives at St George's Chapel to attend Prince Harry's wedding with Charlie van Straubenzee in 2018
Hugh attended Prince Harry's wedding in 2018

"The couple, who have been together for two years, recently became engaged at the Duke's family home at Eaton Hall in Cheshire. Members of both their families are absolutely delighted with the news.

"Hugh Grosvenor, The Duke of Westminster, is Grosvenor's Chair as well as Chair of the Westminster Foundation. Miss Henson works for Belazu, a B-Corp-certified food company based in London."

The only detail Hugh and Olivia have announced is their chosen wedding venue, Chester Cathedral. Shunning the larger, more popular locations such as Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle, they explained their choice was much more personal. 

"The couple have chosen the cathedral for both its beauty and long association with the Grosvenor family, including to the Duke personally. Cheshire is the Grosvenor family’s ancestral home and as Miss Henson’s connection to the region continues to grow, they are keen to plan their wedding there," a spokesperson said.

Hugh – whose mother is Prince William's godmother – became the Duke of Westminster in 2016 aged 25 after his father Gerald had a heart attack aged 64. In 2023, Bloomberg estimated his net worth was around £9.42 billion, making him one of the wealthiest men in Britain.

But Gerald, the 6th Duke of Westminster, was aware of the pitfalls of their vast wealth long before he passed on the title to his son. Back in 1992, the late Duke told The Independent: "I do feel sorry for Hugh. He will be under enormous pressure. He's a lucky boy to be given all the material things in life, but he'll need to be robust mentally to survive. There are many pitfalls, when one inherits such an enormous amount of money, especially in adolescence."

Hugh Grosvenor at Prince George's christening in 2013© Getty
Hugh inherited the title the Duke of Westminster in 2016 aged 25

He reiterated on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs in 1995: "I have always said that one of my great aims in life is to get that silver spoon out of his mouth.

"It can seduce you. Wealth on any scale can seduce you into a world where you don’t really think that anybody else exists in it except yourself. You become very self-centred, you become very isolated from reality."

Hugh seemingly didn't live out his father's concerns and has kept his private life largely out of the spotlight. However, he hit the headlines following his lavish 21st birthday celebrations, which attracted an impressive 800 invitees including Prince Harry and Michael McIntyre. It may have been over a decade ago, but it could be an indication that his wedding will be an equally grand affair.

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