Could the Duke of Westminster’s wedding change a 300-year-old English law?

Could the Duke of Westminster’s wedding change a 300-year-old English law?

The Duke of Westminster is set to tie the knot next Saturday in a lavish ceremony where none other than Prince William will act as usher.

Hugh Grosvenor, 33, is the seventh Duke of Westminster and his upcoming wedding will see Olivia Henson, 31, become the new Duchess of Westminster.

It could also reflect a potential change in English law should they have children.

Under traditional guidelines, peerages like this only pass to male heirs, which means that should the couple have a daughter, she will be known as a lady and not inherit the dukedom – and notably her family’s considerable wealth.

As reported by the 2024 Sunday Times Rich List, Grosvenor has a net worth of £10.127 billion – a substantial increase from the £9.878 billion he had in 2023.

His money comes from his family’s vast property empire, which, in essence, means that he owns half of Mayfair, though the couple plan to move to Eaton Hall in Cheshire once married.

But the Hereditary Titles (Female Succession) Bill could change everything for their future children and is the reason that the Duke has his family’s vast wealth and not his older sister, Lady Edwina Louise Grosvenor, 42.

Hugh Grosvenor’s title and estate could be inherited by a daughter instead of a son (PA)
Hugh Grosvenor’s title and estate could be inherited by a daughter instead of a son (PA)

Under the new bill, which is set to be given a second reading on 21 June, female heirs could be able to take on a hereditary peerage or baronetcy.

Grosvenor’s peerage is also unique in and of itself.

It is the most recent dukedom given to a non-descendent of the royal family, gifted by Queen Victoria to Hugh Grosvenor, 3rd Marquess of Westminster, back in 1974.

Should the new bill proposed by Conservative MP Harriet Baldwin pass, it will reflect a similar modernisation of royal titles.

The Succession to the Crown Act (2013) ended what was known as male primogeniture, which placed male heirs above female ones in the line of succession.

The first child to benefit from this change was Princess Charlotte, nine, who is currently above her younger brother Prince Louis, six, as third in line to the throne.

Grosvenor and Henson will marry on 7 June in a lavish ceremony at Chester Cathedral.

A recent change in the law put Princess Charlotte above Prince Louis in the line of succession (PA Wire)
A recent change in the law put Princess Charlotte above Prince Louis in the line of succession (PA Wire)

While Prince William’s role in the ceremony has been confirmed, and Prince George, Grosvenor’s godson is also expected to play a part, it is not known if King Charles and Queen Camilla will attend.

The Sussexes will not be present to avoid overshadowing the Duke’s big day following increased tensions within the royal family.