Where Is the Duke of Westminster Getting Married? The Fascinating History of Chester Cathedral

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Where Is the Duke of Westminster Getting Married?Nicolas McComber & Max Mumby/Indigo/Contributor via Getty Images

There’s another wedding in the royal family: Hugh Grosvenor, the 7th Duke of Westminster (and King Charles’s godson), will say “I do” to Olivia Henson on June 7. The summer nuptials are taking place at Chester Cathedral, near Grosvenor’s childhood home of Eaton Hall—and it’s bound to look straight out of a Bridgerton scene. Ahead of what is sure to be a fairytale event this weekend, let’s dive into the thousand-year history housed in the ancient walls of Chester Cathedral.

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Hugh Grosvenor, the 7th Duke of Westminster (and King Charles’s godson), will marry Olivia Henson on June 7.Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

The cathedral has been in Chester even longer than the Grosvenor family, which is saying something, considering their ancestors have been in the city since the Norman Conquest. The original construction dates back to the 10th century, first intended to house the patron saint of Chester. It was then refurbished by Lady Godiva, the Anglo-Saxon noblewoman best known for riding naked on horseback through Coventry in protest of her husband’s extortionate tax laws.

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A view to Chester Cathedral. The cathedral’s original construction date goes back to the 10th century. joe daniel price - Getty Images

The Saxon building would see countless renovations and even structural rebuilds during the 19th century, representing nearly every movement, style, and revival within its walls. Having fallen into a state of disrepair throughout the English Civil War, it would later be rebuilt by Clayton and Bell and Heaton, Butler and Bayne in high Victorian style.

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A view inside the cathedral’s soaring interior. by Andrea Pucci - Getty Images

The cathedral was again left practically desolate after the Duke of Monmouth led a raiding party through Cheshire during the Restoration. “It perpetually seemed to hover on the verge of collapse,” wrote Charles Hiatt, “and yet was without a trace of the romance of the average ruin.”

That’s when Gothic designer George Gilbert Scott stepped in and rebuilt it again, with extensive renovations including a new roof. In 1975, the Duke of Gloucester gave it a new bell tower, and in 1992 (in commemoration of the cathedral’s 900th anniversary) the 6th Duke of Westminster donated three Alan Younger windows to replace those destroyed during World War II. Today, many artifacts remain in the storied structure including a re-creation of the Madonna and Christ-child, painted entirely on caterpillar silk.

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The cathedral was modernized several times over the centuries. joe daniel price - Getty Images
earl of lichfield and lady leonora grosvenor
The Earl of Lichfield and his bride leaving after the ceremony at Chester Cathedral.PA Images - Getty Images

Hugh Grosvenor’s upcoming marriage at Chester Cathedral is but one part of the Westminster family’s very storied past (though his parents chose to exchange vows closer to the bride’s family seat, Luton Hoo). “We’ve obviously got a long association with the cathedral as a family,” the duke told Tatler. Having grown up in Eaton Hall alongside sisters Lady Tamara, Lady Edwina, and Lady Viola, “we were here for my father’s memorial, my sister’s wedding, and every Remembrance Sunday that I can attend is here.”

Grosvenor and Henson will be relocating to Cheshire following the big day—surely, one can assume, to return to the cathedral in the coming years of their happy-ever-after.

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