Behind the scenes of the 'society wedding of the year' attended by Prince William

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets of Chester yesterday for the 'society wedding of the year'. The Duke of Westminster, Hugh Grosvenor, and his bride Olivia Henson tied the knot in a ceremony at the city's cathedral, as members of the public lined the streets to welcome the couple and the wedding party, which included his friend Prince William.

The Duke, 33, is one of Britain's richest men, owning huge swathes of Cheshire, Lancashire and Mayfair in London with an estimated wealth of £10bn. The wedding party left the cathedral for a reception at Eaton Hall, the duke's family home. The Mirror reported on the details you may have missed from the dazzling ceremony.

The Duke married Olivia at Chester Cathedral, which is close to his family's ancestral seat of Eaton Hall in Cheshire. Both the bride and groom entered the grand church through the front doors, which had been adorned with a spectacular arch of flowers and foliage.

READ MORE: Three cheers for the billionaire bride and groom! Thousands celebrate on streets of Chester for Duke of Westminster's wedding

The venue was certainly big enough to hold all 400 guests and thousands lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the hotly talked about couple and their guests. According to a spokesman for the couple, the cathedral holds a special place in their hearts and was perfect for their nuptials.

He explained before the service: "It means a lot to them to marry in Chester Cathedral, especially given the Grosvenor family's long and close personal connection to both the cathedral and the city of Chester. The couple have also been moved by the messages of support they have received from around the region and are hugely grateful that people want to share in their happiness."

Seasonal flowers for the ceremony were sourced from local growers, sourced from local growers through the 'Flowers from the Farm' network, which champions artisan growers. They will be made into bouquets to be delivered to local charities, churches and organisations.

Prince William was the most high profile guest -Credit:Getty Images
Prince William was the most high profile guest -Credit:Getty Images

Of all the guests in attendance at the wedding, the most high-profile was Prince William, who was one of 10 ushers. However, despite the wealthy groom being close to Prince Harry too, he did not attend and instead stayed thousands of miles away in California. Hugh and Harry came to the "civilised understanding" for him to skip the wedding amid his deep rift with his brother, seemingly paving the way for William's attendance - and for him to take up his role as an usher at the ceremony.

According to royal biographer Ingrid Seward, it was always going to be Harry who would have to concede his invitation. She told the Mirror: "There was never any question as to which of the brothers would take centre stage at the wedding. It had to be William. Harry made it clear he wouldn't be attending having had a chat with Hugh about the awkward situation and agreeing he should be the one to step down."

Meanwhile, Ingrid claimed Meghan Markle might also have been a factor in her and Harry's non-attendance. She added: "There was also the question of Meghan being unwilling to attend such a high-profile society wedding knowing that most of that very society disliked her. Why would she want to come to a country where she could be pilloried, snubbed and embarrassed?

"Hers and Harry's presence would certainly have distracted from the bride and groom and even Meghan would know that would be the height of bad manners. Harry issued an unofficial memo saying, 'The Duke of Sussex sends his love and support and admiration for the couple for their wedding day.'"

When it came to the actual nuptials, Hugh made a grand arrival at the event alongside his three best men. He proudly turned up in a green Land Rover Defender, a vehicle often favoured by farmers and estate owners.

The groom and his ushers arrived in a vintage Land Rover -Credit:Getty Images
The groom and his ushers arrived in a vintage Land Rover -Credit:Getty Images

It comes as the Duke looks set to settle down to the 'farming life of a country gentleman' following his wedding with Olivia. Friends told the Telegraph that the 33-year-old, who studied countryside management at university, has "a genuine love of the land" - entirely fitting given his position as one of the UK's largest landowners.

Notably, Hugh is also the president of the Country Trust charity, which encourages children from disadvantaged backgrounds to connect with "the land that sustains us all" through visits to farms across the country, including his own Grosvenor Farms on the Eaton Estate. The bride also had a very special form of transport to the wedding. She arrived with her father in a Bentley, originally made for the car manufacturer's founder in 1930 - and the newlyweds left together after the ceremony in the car.

Of course, when Olivia arrived, all eyes were on her stunning wedding dress and veil, which was created by London-based designer Emma Victoria Payne.

And it featured an incredible embroidery design, which incorporated floral motifs and edgings from her great-great-grandmother's veil from around 1880. As she entered the cathedral, the veil blew in the wind, prompting gasps from the crowd as it fluttered dramatically. Her bouquet was made of flowers picked from the gardens of the duke's family home, Eaton Hall.

Olivia Henson arrived in a vintage Bentley -Credit:Getty Images
Olivia Henson arrived in a vintage Bentley -Credit:Getty Images

To complete the bridal look, Olivia opted to wear the Faberge Myrtle Leaf Tiara made for Grosvenor brides to wear on their wedding day, which has been in the family since 1906. According to royal jewellery expert, the Court Jeweller, the tiara is designed to look as if it is a wreath of leaves of laurel or myrtle, which is a traditional wedding flower.

The same tiara was worn by the Duke of Westminster's sister Lady Tamara Grosvenor when she married her husband Edward van Cutsem at the same venue in 2004.

The wedding party headed to Eaton Hall after leaving the cathedral -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News
The wedding party headed to Eaton Hall after leaving the cathedral -Credit:Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News

And even though the bride's dress, veil and tiara were all within wedding tradition, she appeared to go against the norm with her shoes.

She wore a pair of blue Silvia Lago shoes adorned with bows under her gown. The shoes are the Valentina 100 Riviera style and came with a chunky block heel.

After the cathedral ceremony, the wedding party boarded coaches to be taken back to the groom's home of Eaton Hall, where there were to celebrations - an afternoon reception with a lemon wedding cake and an evening party. And it seems the couple were keen to keep their celebration under wraps with one guest telling the Daily Mail: "We have also been asked not to do any social media posting when we get there."