Prince Harry Declines Invitation to Duke of Westminster’s Wedding

Prince Harry declines the Duke of Westminster’s wedding invite, sends love and support instead.

Prince Harry arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on March 30, 2023; Hugh Grosvenor at the wedding of Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks in Frensham, England on Aug. 4, 2018. [PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, MAX MUMBY/INDIGO/GETTY IMAGES (2)]
Prince Harry arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on March 30, 2023; Hugh Grosvenor at the wedding of Charlie van Straubenzee and Daisy Jenks in Frensham, England on Aug. 4, 2018. [PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, MAX MUMBY/INDIGO/GETTY IMAGES (2)]

Prince Harry has opted not to attend the highly anticipated wedding of Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, and Olivia Henson at Chester Cathedral on June 7, 2024.

Sources close to the situation told PEOPLE that Harry was indeed invited but both parties recognized the complications surrounding his attendance.

At 39, the Duke of Sussex continues to navigate his life in California after stepping back from royal duties in 2020, a move that included relinquishing certain official supports and losing access to Frogmore Cottage, his former residence in the UK. With these logistical and security challenges in mind, Harry and Hugh Grosvenor mutually agreed that it would be best for him not to attend.

A source close to the bride and groom explained that there was an “understanding between the two friends,” indicating that the decision was amicable and mutual. Harry extended his “love and support and admiration for the couple” as they prepare for their big day.

This decision also sidesteps potential public scrutiny that might arise from a reunion of Harry and his brother Prince William.

The Prince of Wales is expected to serve as an usher at what many are calling the society wedding of the year. Had Harry attended, the event could have been overshadowed by the media frenzy surrounding the estranged brothers’ presence.

Transatlantic travel to the UK poses additional security challenges for Harry, especially since his official support was withdrawn following his and Meghan Markle‘s departure from their royal roles.

Hugh Grosvenor and Prince William at the official handover of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre on the Stanford Hall Estate in Nottinghamshire on June 21, 2018. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, OLI SCARFF/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)
Hugh Grosvenor and Prince William at the official handover of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre on the Stanford Hall Estate in Nottinghamshire on June 21, 2018. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, OLI SCARFF/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

This, combined with the lack of a base like Frogmore Cottage, made the logistics of attending the wedding particularly difficult.

Moreover, Prince Harry’s absence eliminates the awkwardness of being shown to his seat by Prince William, who will be greeting guests and helping them find their places in the church.

The potential tension between the brothers could have detracted from the joyous occasion.

Despite his absence, Harry’s connection to the wedding remains strong. Hugh Grosvenor is a godfather to Harry and Meghan’s son, Prince Archie, as well as to Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s eldest son, Prince George.

This close family tie underscores the depth of the relationship between Harry and the Duke of Westminster.

The wedding is set to be a grand affair, with numerous prominent guests expected to attend. Alongside Prince William, attendees will include Grosvenor’s sisters, Lady Edwina and Lady Tamara, along with their husbands, broadcaster Dan Snow and banker Edward van Cutsem.

The event has been dubbed “the most royal non-royal wedding of the year,” drawing members of Britain’s oldest and wealthiest aristocratic families.

Hugh, 33, and Olivia, 31, announced their engagement in April 2023 after two years of dating. The bride will assume the title of Duchess of Westminster upon their marriage.

Hugh inherited the title and the substantial family estate, with a net worth estimated at $12.8 billion, at the age of 25 following the death of his father in 2016.

Hugh Grosvenor attends the christening on his godson Prince George on October 23, 2013. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, JOHN STILLWELL/AFP VIA GETTY)
Hugh Grosvenor attends the christening on his godson Prince George on October 23, 2013. (PHOTO: VIA PEOPLE, JOHN STILLWELL/AFP VIA GETTY)

The wedding not only highlights the close-knit relationships within the British aristocracy but also underscores the ongoing ties to the royal family. The Duke of Westminster is a godson of King Charles, and his mother is a godmother to Prince William, further intertwining their social and familial connections.

However, not all prominent figures will be in attendance. Both King Charles and Princess Kate, who are currently undergoing cancer treatment, are not expected to make an appearance.

King Charles resumed public duties in late April following his diagnosis announcement in February, while Princess Kate has remained out of the public eye since sharing her health news in March.

As the wedding day approaches, the focus remains on the joyous union of Hugh Grosvenor and Olivia Henson.

Despite Prince Harry’s absence, his supportive gesture ensures that the spotlight stays firmly on the couple, allowing them to celebrate their special day surrounded by family and friends without the distraction of royal family dynamics.

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