Hugh Grosvenor is to become the next Duke of Westminster and Britain's youngest billionaire after his father Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor died aged 64.
The billionaire philanthropist and third richest man in the UK fell ill on his Abbeystead Estate and died at the Royal Preston Hospital in Lancashire.
As the only male among four children and heir to his father’s dukedom, Earl Grosvenor is set to inherit his father’s estate, worth an estimated £9bn.
Who is he?
Hugh Richard Louis Grosvenor, 25, is a friend of the royal family and godfather to Prince George.
The Newcastle graduate attended private day secondary school in Cheshire and studied countryside management at university.
In his day job, the seventh Duke of Westminister works as an account manager for bio-bean, a London-based green technology company specialising in recycling waste coffee grounds into biofuels.
Splashing the cash
Hugh celebrated his 21st birthday party by reportedly inviting 800 guests to attend a “black tie and neon” party costing £5m. Michael McIntyre and Rizzle Kicks were enlisted to perform and pal Prince Harry was in attendance.
His heirdom also means inheriting property located in the affluent areas of Belgravia, west London, Mayfair and other wealthy locations, including Eaton Hall, the family’s country seat in Cheshire. A 2004 article by the London Evening Standard named Hugh as one of a handful of “toffs” who would one day inherit control of the freeholds of London.
However, despite his incredibly fortunate beginnings, his father was insistent his son would have to put in some graft himself. He sent his children to state primary schools and refused to have them boarding at their private secondary school. Speaking about Hugh in 1993, he said: “He's been born with the longest silver spoon anyone can have, but he can't go through life sucking on it.
“He has to put back what he has been given.”
In 1995, he also described how reluctant he was to take on the title as heir, describing the situation as “rather forced upon me”. For this reason, he said he would not oblige his son to do the same but expressed hope that he would.
“I will force nothing on anybody, let alone my children,” he told the BBC’s Desert Island Discs.
“In Hugh's case I would be delighted if he took over the responsibilities, because with the responsibilities come many rights and they are indefinable between the two,” he added.
Shunning the spotlight
The Duke is one member of the aristocracy who appears to have shunned the spotlight and the media were banned from his birthday bash. He was pipped to the top of the Tatler “people who matter” list by Prince George, despite his godson then being aged two, and arrived in 146th place.
His position as heir has led to Hugh being described variously as one of Britain’s most eligible bachelors amid excited reports he does not have a girlfriend.
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