Free ice cream and a royal usher: Thousands celebrate Duke of Westminster's wedding in Chester

Granada Reports correspondent Mel Barham reports from Chester.

Thousands of people descended onto the streets to catch a glimpse of the Duke of Westminster and his bride at his wedding - where the Prince of Wales was an usher.

Crowds gathered outside Chester Cathedral from the early hours of the morning to witness the occasion and cheer on billionaire aristocrat Hugh Grosvenor, 33, and his new bride Olivia Henson, 31.

Those in the city were also offered free ice creams to mark the occasion, after the couple teamed up with three independent businesses to provide the treats.

But shortly after the pair shared a kiss outside after the ceremony for the cheering crowds, Just Stop Oil protesters let off orange powder in protest.

Two female activists were quickly removed by police while other onlookers booed them.

The Duke of Westminster is godfather to William’s son Prince George, and also, reportedly, to Harry’s son Prince Archie. Credit: PA Images

A spokesman for the Duke and Ms Henson said: “It means a lot to them to marry in Chester Cathedral, especially given the Grosvenor family’s long and close personal connection to both the cathedral and the city of Chester.

“The couple have also been moved by the messages of support they have received from around the region and are hugely grateful that people want to share in their happiness.”

Local growers provided seasonal flowers for the ceremony which will be made into bouquets after the wedding, to be delivered to local charities, churches and organisations.

Crowds gathered from the early hours of the morning to catch a glimpse of the happy couple. Credit: ITV News

The Prince of Wales, a close friend of Hugh Grosvenor, went through a side entrance, out of the view of many of the crowds, when he arrived on Friday morning.

He stood towards the back of the wedding party as they left the cathedral.

Around 400 guests, including Princess Eugenie and TV producer Phil Redmond, left the venue in coaches to go to the reception at the Duke of Westminster’s nearby family home Eaton Hall.

The bride's veil featured an embroidery design which incorporated floral motifs from Ms Henson's great-great-grandmother's veil from around 1880.

The veil, designed by Emma Victoria Payne, blew in the wind as the bride arrived at the cathedral at midday to cheers from the public.

Her dress was made by the same designer and she accessorised with blue shoes and the Faberge Myrtle Leaf Tiara made for Grosvenor brides to wear on their wedding day, which has been in the family since 1906.

The couple announced their engagement in April last year after being together for two years. Credit: PA Images

She arrived with her father in a vintage Bentley, originally made for the car manufacturer’s founder in 1930, while the groom mad his way in a green Land Rover Defender.

Her three bridesmaids, the duke’s nieces, wore white dresses with blue ribbons and shoes.

It is believed the couple chose the wedding venue because of its beauty and the Duke's personal connection to Chester.

The Duke of Sussex was not there after it was mutually agreed he would not attend, amid a long-running rift with his brother.

Guests did not include the King, the groom’s godfather, the Queen or the Princess of Wales, who has been out of the spotlight as she undergoes treatment for cancer.

The Duke of Westminster is godfather to William’s son Prince George, and also, reportedly, to Harry’s son Prince Archie.

William and Harry were both ushers at the wedding of his sister Lady Tamara Grosvenor at the cathedral in 2004.

The Prince of Wales leaves Chester Cathedral after the wedding of Olivia Henson and Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster. Credit: PA Images

The wedding was officiated by the Dean of Chester, the Very Revd Dr Tim Stratford and during the service there was sining by the Chester Cathedral Choir, accompanied by a group of musicians from north-west England.

The Duke of Westminster boasting a fortune of £10.1 billion topped The Sunday Times Under 40 Rich List earlier this year.

His bride, who grew up in London and Oxfordshire, has worked in the sustainable food and drinks industry, most recently at London-based artisanal food company Belazu.

The couple announced their engagement in April 2023 after being together for two years.

The Duke of Westminster became an instant billionaire when he inherited his title and control of the historic Grosvenor Estate aged 25, following the death of his father from a heart attack in 2016.

His property company, Grosvenor Group, owns about 300 acres of land in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia, as well as major city centre developments such as the Liverpool One shopping centre.