Duke of Westminster axes Harry and Meghan from his wedding guestlist

EXCLUSIVE Real reason Duke of Westminster axed Harry and Meghan from his wedding guestlist: Royals’ childhood friend feared ‘history repeating itself’ after row over an invite for Camilla overshadowed his sister’s wedding

When the Duke of Westminster made the ‘incredibly sad’ decision to exclude the Duke and Duchess of Sussex from his wedding next summer, he was mindful of the royal row that complicated his sister’s ceremony at the same venue.

The Daily Mail understands that the Duke, Hugh Grosvenor, was ‘very conscious’ of the tensions surrounding the wedding of Lady Tamara Grosvenor and Edward van Cutsem at Chester Cathedral in 2004 and did not want anything similar at his own. 

‘Hugh knows how sensitive wedding invitations can be,’ a friend of the family told this newspaper.

Camilla Parker Bowles was invited to his sister’s wedding but was told that she would not be permitted to sit with Prince Charles and would have to sit several rows back. She would also have to arrive separately. This was because Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were due to attend the ceremony.

A Buckingham Palace courtier was quoted as saying at the time: ‘It may provoke comment on the day, but Her Majesty will also be attending and she is a stickler for protocol. 

‘A pew will be set aside for the members of the Royal Family attending, and it would be inappropriate for Mrs Parker Bowles to sit beside Prince Charles since she has no official standing. 

‘Even for Mrs Parker Bowles to arrive with the Prince at the event, in the presence of the Queen, would be to confer rights and status upon her that she simply does not have.’

The Duke of Westminster and Miss Olivia Henson are engaged to be married

Prince Harry and Meghan’s exclusion from the Duke of Westminster’s wedding comes amid an increasingly bitter royal rift

The Duke is so close to Harry that he is reportedly godfather to his son, Prince Archie 

Prince WilliaM greeted by General Timothy Granville-Chapman (2R), Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster (2L) and John Peace (L) during the official handover to the nation of the newly built Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) at the Stanford Hall Estate on June 21, 2018 in Leeds

There had previously been very few official occasions at which both Mrs Parker Bowles, as she then was, and the Queen had been present. Among them were the Westminster Abbey service for the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation, a pop concert in the garden of Buckingham Palace to mark the Queen’s Jubilee, and the Queen Mother’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.

According to Viscountess Bangor, better known as the distinguished author Sarah Bradford, Mrs Parker Bowles was apparently so infuriated to read in a newspaper diary column that royal protocol would mean she couldn’t sit beside Charles at the wedding that she told the heir to the throne that the status quo was no longer acceptable.

She and Prince Charles pulled out of attending Lady Tamara’s wedding, which, like her brother’s, was described as the society event of the year. It was reported that Charles took the decision because he was unhappy about the treatment of Mrs Parker Bowles. 

The wedding was attended by 650 guests, including the Queen, Prince Philip, and Princes William and Harry.

Ed Van Cutsem and Lady Tamara Grosvenor leave their wedding service at Chester Cathedral on November 6, 2004

Prince Harry and Meghan’s exclusion from the Duke of Westminster’s wedding comes amid an increasingly bitter royal rift.

Hugh Grosvenor, 32, is to marry Olivia Henson, 30, at Chester Cathedral on June 7. The King, Queen, Prince and Princess of Wales and Prince George, who is the Duke’s godson, are invited.

The Duke is so close to Harry that he is reportedly godfather to his son, Prince Archie. The Duke, who has an estimated fortune of £10billion, is the King’s godson and had an official role at the coronation in May. 

It is understood that he wanted to invite the Sussexes, but is conscious their appearance could dominate the day and cause tension for Charles, Camilla, William and Catherine.

A friend of William and Harry’s told the Sunday Times: ‘It’s incredibly sad it has come to this. Hugh is one of very few close friends of William and Harry’s who has maintained strong bonds and a line of communication with both.’

A spokesman for the Duke of Westminster declined to comment.

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