Billionaire Duke of Westminster, 33, marries Olivia Henson in 'real life Bridgerton' wedding in front of Prince William and huge crowds

Duke of Westminster in wedding attire
-Credit: (Image: PA)

The Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, has married Olivia Henson is what has been dubbed the “most royal non-royal wedding of the year” and a spectacle reminiscent of a modern-day episode of Bridgerton.

He was seen heading into Chester Cathedral today, hot on the heels of Prince William, who is one of his ushers. They were both followed by the bride, who was seen battling windy weather in a flowing white dress. She was cheered by crowds as she entered in a Emma Victoria Payne wedding dress and veil carrying a bouquet from the Duke's family home, Eaton Hall.

Other royals attending alongside Prince William included Princess Eugenie in a green long-sleeved dress. Prince George, who was originally have thought to have been a page boy at the service, was kept in school and did not attend.

The Wedding of The Duke of Westminster to Olivia Henson at Chester Cathedral, Chester, UK, on the 7th June 2024.
The bride and groom shared a kiss after the ceremony at Chester Cathedral -Credit:James Whatling
Olivia Henson on her wedding day
Olivia Henson smiles to the crowds as she arrived to marry the billionaire Duke of Westminster -Credit:Getty Images

A large crowd gathered outside the cathedral to see the arrival of the bride, groom and guests saw Olivia arriving in a black vintage Bentley car from the 1930s.

At the time of his succession, the Duke of Westminster inherited an estimated wealth of £9 billion and gained several new estates. He is also known by the titles of Marquess of Westminster, Earl Grosvenor, Viscount Belgrave and Baron Grosvenor.

Hugh also became the head of The Grosvenor Group upon his father's death which means he owns several huge areas of London, as well as land and over 1,500 buildings all across the world.

According to The Sunday Times Rich List, Hugh is the world's wealthiest person under 30, and his family ranks 12th on the list. Meanwhile, Olivia, the 31 year old bride-to-be, is the daughter of stockbroker Rupert Henson and his wife Caroline, and is related to John Manners, the 5th Duke of Rutland.

Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster attends the wedding of The Duke of Westminster and Miss Olivia Henson at Chester Cathedral
The Duchess of Westminster, Natalia Grosvenor, looked incredibly striking in hot pink -Credit:Getty Images
Princess Eugenie headed into the service this morning dressed in green -Credit:James Whatling
Princess Eugenie headed into the service this morning dressed in green -Credit:James Whatling
A vintage Bentley outside Chester Cathedral
A vintage Bentley was on hand to transport the bride to the cathedral -Credit:Dave Benett/Getty Images for Ben

And she has her own Royal connections too, having attended Malborough College at the same time as Princess Eugenie. Olivia's online footprint is minimal, but we do know that she was educated at the private Dragon School in Oxford, before she went off to Marlborough College, whose alumni include Princess Kate and Pippa Middleton. She then went to Ireland to study at Trinity College in Dublin, where she got a 2:1 in Hispanic Studies and Italian.

Olivia Henson in her wedding dress
The bride arriving in a flowing white dress as Chester Cathedral -Credit:James Whatling
A guest arrives for the wedding of Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, to Olivia Henson at Chester Cathedral
Wedding guests walked through the town's historic centre to attend the ceremony at Chester Cathedral -Credit:PA

Olivia currently works as a senior account manager at Belazu, an environmentally friendly B-corp which imports high-quality ingredients from across Europe, such as rose harissa, preserved lemons and estate-shot venison. It is not known whether she will continue to work following her marriage.

Hugh's connections to the Royal Family stem back to his late father, Gerald Grosvenor. The 7th Duke of Westminster was a close friend and confidante of King Charles; so much so that the then-Prince was made one of Hugh's godfathers.

Hugh went on to become one of Prince George's seven godparents when he was christened in 2013 and is also rumoured to be Prince Archie's godfather. However, despite their close friendship, Prince Harry will not attend the wedding.

Harry reportedly decided against being at the society wedding of the year, recognising the potential complications his presence could bring about. Insiders revealed to People magazine that after much contemplation, Prince Harry had a heart-to-heart with his good pal, the Duke of Westminster, where they both agreed it was best for Harry to skip the event.

Hugh and Olivia
Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, and his fiancée, Olivia Henson, are trying the knot in Chester -Credit:PA
Harry will not be attending the wedding
Harry will not be attending the wedding -Credit:Getty Images for Invictus Games

With the well-known tension between Prince Harry and his brother Prince William, who is serving as an usher, this move avoids any uncomfortable encounters that might have taken the spotlight away from the newlyweds.

The two have been mates since they were kids, and a source told the US publication that Harry's thoughts are full of "love and support and admiration" for the couple on their special day. Although he was on the guest list, Prince Harry acknowledged the complexities his attendance would entail. The choice to remain in California was reached as an "understanding between two friends".

Crossing the Atlantic is particularly tricky for Harry, due to security concerns. Ever since he and his wife Meghan Markle stepped down from Royal duties in 2020, the Sussexes no longer have constant security detail and must request protection from the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office well in advance.

Eaton Hall
Hugh's family home, Eaton Hall -Credit:Getty Images

The couple can no longer use their previous Windsor residence, Frogmore Cottage, although Harry was offered accommodation in a Royal property during his visit to London last month.

Ever since a series of explosive interviews and Harry's memoir, Spare, which revealed the friction between him, William and their father, the King, the couple's relationship with their Royal family members has been tense.

Despite the uncomfortable situation, the duke, affectionately known as Hughie by those close to him, is one of the few friends who has managed to maintain a close relationship with both brothers.

On Thursday, preparations for the event were in full swing in the city, which is being adorned with 100,000 flowers arranged in displays – a generous gesture from the groom himself, the Duke of Westminster, 33, to commemorate his nuptials.

Preparations are underway in the city of Chester
Preparations are underway in the city of Chester -Credit:Instagram/@chester_bid

Following the celebrations, the couple plan to donate their wedding flowers to local charities and organisations. Behind-the-scenes photos shared by the city's Business Improvement District reveal the stunning floral displays being set up this week.

The images show volunteers carefully arranging 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," read the caption shared on social media.

"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."

Chester will be adorned with flowers to commemorate the wedding
Chester will be adorned with flowers to commemorate the wedding -Credit:Instagram/@chester_bid

As part of their wedding day celebrations, the Duke of Westminster and his fiancée are also subsidising free ice cream. Visitors to the city centre on Friday will be able to enjoy the treat from three independent city-centre businesses from 10am.

Cheshire Farm Ice Cream, in Chester Market; Diddy Donuts, under the Eastgate Clock and Krum Gelato, on Watergate Street, are each taking part. Craig Fermor, owner of Diddy Donuts, told the BBC he was "delighted, flattered and proud" to be invited to take part.

“It’s a lovely touch from the couple and will put a lot of smiles on faces," he added.

Vendors across the city are offering free ice cream to commemorate the occasion
Vendors across the city are offering free ice cream to commemorate the occasion -Credit:Instagram/@chester_bid

Even though the wedding ceremony will be grand – with around 400 guests in the historic Chester Cathedral and reception at the Grosvenors' vast Cheshire home, Eaton Hall, designed in the style of a French chateau – Hugh and Olivia have decided to keep much of the details private.

The couple have also issued a strict 'no gifts' rule. The wedding celebrations, which will see many roads between the 11,000-acre estate and the cathedral closed to traffic, will also include two receptions, a main event on Friday following the cathedral service and another more intimate gathering the next day for family and close friends.

Chester Cathedral,
The magnificent Chester Cathedral, where Hugh and Olivia will marry -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

Olivia and Hugh were introduced by mutual friends in London and dated for two years before he popped the question. He got down on one knee at Eaton Hall outside of Chester, which has been home to the Grosvenor family since the 1400s and is where Hugh grew up.

A spokesman for the Grosvenor family shared the happy news, saying: "The Duke of Westminster and Miss Olivia Henson are delighted to announce they are engaged to be married. Members of both their families are absolutely delighted with the news."