Just Stop Oil protesters target Duke of Westminster's wedding attended by Prince William

The Just Stop Oil protest at the Duke of Westminster's wedding today
-Credit: (Image: Just stop oil)

Just Stop Oil protesters attempted to disrupt the billionaire Duke of Westminster's wedding at Chester Cathedral as he and his new wife left the grand ceremony attended by Prince William and Princess Eugenie.

As the newlyweds left the cathedral and waved to crowds before sharing a kiss, fire extinguishers containing orange smoke were left off, just as William left the venue and the newlyweds got into their car. The crowd booed as two women, one of whom shouted "Just Stop Oil", were restrained and taken away by the police.

Afterwards, Just Stop Oil said they targeted the wedding "to demand an emergency plan to end the extraction and burning of oil, gas and coal by 2030" and said the two women taking action were Polly, 73, a care worker from Norfolk and Sheila, 69, from Bristol.

Sheila, a former NHS nurse, said: "What do we value most? The wealth of billionaires like the Duke of Westminster OR the lives of the billions who are being destroyed by the fossil fuel industry? Extreme wealth and the climate crisis are both symptoms of a broken system that is not serving most ordinary people."

While Polly said: "Weddings are a time of coming together in celebration to make a commitment to the future. However, for countless millions around the world there is no future unless we come together to stop oil and gas." Barbara Williams, 81, from Cheshire, who was standing next to the protesters in the crowd, said: "I feel a bit shaken after it. We were standing next to them all day."

Her friend Andrea Machin, 56, added: "They were already here when we arrived at 7am, they had shopping trolleys with them.

"Everyone was watching the bride and groom and then we just saw orange and they had what looked like a fire extinguisher with them. The police realised quite quickly what was happening and pulled them out. One of them said it was for her grandchildren. It happened just as William was coming out of the door."

Rhona Dalziel, 57, said: "One of them had been reading a Richard Osman book. It's bizarre."

It came as the bride Olivia Henson, stunned in a classic gown by London-based designer Emma Victoria Payne. She completed her bridal look with the Faberge Myrtle Leaf Tiara, a traditional family piece that Grosvenor brides wear on their wedding day, and velvet blue shoes adorned with exaggerated bows.

Her bouquet was made of flowers picked from the gardens of the duke's family home, Eaton Hall and her veil, which incorporated floral motifs and edgings from Ms Henson's great-great-grandmother's veil from around 1880, fluttered in the blustery conditions.

Earlier she had arrived with her father in a vintage Bentley, while her new husband Hugh Grosvenor, turned up with his best men in a Land Rover Defender. The lavish ceremony has seen a huge number of guests turn out including Princess Eugenie, who looked chic in an olive dress.

Prince William, one of 10 ushers, arrived alone for the service, with wife Kate staying at home as she continues her recovery following her cancer diagnosis. King Charles, the groom's godfather, and Queen Camilla were not due to be at the ceremony, having been at D-Day commemorations in France on Thursday. The Duke of Westminster is godfather to William's son, Prince George but the 10-year-old was also not at the attend the wedding as it falls on a school day.

Despite being a close pal of the groom Prince Harry also didn't attend. He seemingly was invited to the nuptials, but diplomatically decided to stay away. William and Harry are embroiled in a bitter feud and it appears that one party had to concede they would not attend and not overshadow the day.

A source previously told the Sunday Times: "Hugh is one of the very few close friends of William and Harry's who has maintained strong bonds and a line of communication with both. He wishes they could put their heads together and patch things up, but realises it's unlikely to happen before the wedding. He wanted to avoid anything overshadowing the day, especially for Olivia, and doesn't want any awkwardness."

After Hugh and Harry came to the "civilised understanding" it seemingly paved the way for William's attendance - and for him to take up his role as an usher at the ceremony.

The Duke of Westminster boasts a fortune of £10.1billion and topped The Sunday Times 40 Under 40 Rich List earlier this year. He became an instant billionaire when he inherited his title and control of the historic Grosvenor Estate aged 25, following the death of his father from a heart attack in 2016. His property company, Grosvenor Group, owns about 300 acres of land in Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as major city centre developments such as Liverpool's One shopping centre.

His bride, who grew up in London and Oxfordshire, has worked in the sustainable food and drinks industry, most recently at London-based artisanal food company Belazu. The couple are said to have chosen the wedding venue for its beauty and because of the personal connection to the duke, whose family home Eaton Hall is nearby.

As part of the celebrations for their wedding, The Duke and Olivia are supporting three local businesses, subsidising free ice cream, gelato and sorbet for visitors to the city. The Duke has also paid for more than 100,000 flowers to be planted in displays around the city as part of the Summer Flowers project.

Following the service, there will be a private reception at Eaton Hall. A spokesperson for the duke and Ms Henson said: "This is an incredibly special day for the Duke and Miss Henson and they are very much looking forward to 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."

The spokesperson added: "The Duke and Miss Henson have taken a great deal of care in planning the wedding, putting their own personal stamp on all the arrangements and have made a conscious effort to involve local and regional suppliers in several aspects of the day."

Seasonal flowers for the ceremony were sourced from local growers and will be made into bouquets after the wedding, to be delivered to local charities, churches and organisations. The couple announced their engagement in April last year after being together for two years.

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