'Just Stop Oil' protestors let off orange smoke at wedding attended by Prince William

A protester using a fire extinguisher to project powder paint outside Chester Cathedral during the wedding of Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, and Olivia Henson
-Credit: (Image: Just Stop Oil/PA Wire)

Protestors appearing to be linked to the Just Stop Oil group have let off orange smoke at a wedding being attended by Prince William on Friday. Thousands lined the streets of Chester for the wedding of the Duke of Westminster, where the Prince of Wales acted as an usher.

But two women were removed from the crowd by police after orange smoke was deployed from a fire extinguisher-type device as the billionaire aristocrat, 33, and his new bride Olivia Henson, 31, left Chester Cathedral after the service with the wedding party, including William as an usher. One of the women was heard to say "Just Stop Oil" as the device was released, after the couple kissed for the crowds.

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."

A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: "Shortly after 1pm on Friday a coloured flare was released by two women, believed to be protesting on behalf of Just Stop Oil, on St Werberg Street, Chester. Officers were immediately on the scene and two women were quickly arrested on suspicion of public order offences. The 69-year-old woman from Manchester and 73-year-old woman from Suffolk are both in police custody at this time."

William, a close friend of duke Hugh Grosvenor, went through a side entrance of Chester Cathedral, out of the view of many of the crowds on Friday morning, ahead of the ceremony at midday. Members of the public began arriving outside the cathedral to catch a glimpse of the event from early in the morning, bringing camping chairs and picnics.

The Prince of Wales leaves Chester Cathedral after the wedding of Olivia Henson and Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster
The Prince of Wales leaves Chester Cathedral after the wedding of Olivia Henson and Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster -Credit:Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The bride's veil, designed by Emma Victoria Payne and featuring an embroidery design which incorporated floral motifs from Ms Henson's great-great-grandmother's veil from around 1880, blew in the wind as she arrived at the cathedral to the cheers of the public. Her dress was made by the same designer and she accessorised with blue shoes and the Faberge Myrtle Leaf Tiara made for Grosvenor brides to wear on their wedding day, which has been in the family since 1906.

She arrived with her father in a vintage Bentley, originally made for the car manufacturer's founder in 1930, while the groom arrived in a green Land Rover Defender. Around 400 guests, including Princess Eugenie, were brought to the venue in coaches.

The Duke of Sussex was not there after it was mutually agreed he would not attend, amid a long-running rift with his brother. Guests did not include the King, the groom's godfather, the Queen or the Princess of Wales, who has been out of the spotlight as she undergoes treatment for cancer.

The Duke of Westminster is godfather to William's son, Prince George, and also, reportedly, to Harry's son Prince Archie. The wedding was officiated by the Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford and the service was sung by the Chester Cathedral Choir, accompanied by a group of musicians from North West England.

The people of Chester were offered free ice creams in honour of the occasion, after the couple teamed up with three independent businesses to provide the treats. The Duke of Westminster topped The Sunday Times 40 Under 40 Rich List earlier this year, boasting a fortune of £10.1 billion.

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. William and Harry were both ushers at the wedding of his sister Lady Tamara Grosvenor at the cathedral in 2004.

Olivia Henson and Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster leave Chester Cathedral after their wedding
Olivia Henson and Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster leave Chester Cathedral after their wedding -Credit:Peter Byrne/PA Wire

A spokesman 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.

The Duke of Westminster 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.