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Sunday June 23, 2024

Hugh Grosvenor's future girl child not entitled to inherit Westminster title

Olivia Henson is the new Duchess of Westminster

By Web Desk
June 08, 2024
The newlyweds tied the knot yesterday in front of guests, including Prince William
The newlyweds tied the knot yesterday in front of guests, including Prince William 

The new Duke and Duchess of Westminster are settling into married life and their grand wedding at Chester Cathedral.

The newlyweds tied the knot yesterday in front of guests, including Prince William before celebrating with a reception at the Grosvenor family's seat, Eaton Hall. 

Upon marriage, the bride, Olivia Henson has become the new Duchess of Westminster - and already attention has turned to any titles their future children will inherit. As it stands, any offspring will be affected by a centuries-old rule that also led to Hugh inheriting the immense Grosvenor fortune, estimated at £10bn.

Peerages only pass down the male line (known as male primogeniture), which means that the peerage can only be inherited by a male relative.

Therefore, if the Duke and Duchess have children and their firstborn child is a girl, under the current laws, she will not be entitled to inherit the Westminster title, nor the family fortune and estate that goes with it. 

Instead, she would be styled as Lady, while an eldest son would be known as Earl Grosvenor until he inherits the dukedom.

The same rule also directly impacted Hugh, who has two older sisters, Lady Tamara and Lady Edwina Grosvenor. When their father, Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, died in 2016, the family title went to Hugh, his third child and only son.

His marriage has reignited the debate over the archaic rule, with campaigners calling for a law change preventing younger sons inheriting over firstborn daughters.

Conservative MP Harriet Baldwin's proposed Hereditary Titles (Female Succession) Bill aims to change the law to allow female heirs to take a hereditary peerage or baronetcy. It is due to be given a second reading on 21 June.

Without the bill, the couple's title will automatically pass to their first son rather than their eldest child. But if passed, firstborn daughters would be treated equally to firstborn sons. 

The Duke of Westminster's inheritance came with 140,000 acres of land in Oxfordshire, Cheshire, Lancashire and Scotland - and another 300 in Mayfair and Belgravia, a portfolio worth an estimated £10.127 billion.