Over the weekend, Roya Nikkhah at the Sunday Times had a very important royal exclusive: Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, will snub the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and not invite them to his June 2024 wedding. Considering Nikkhah reported it, the big exclusive absolutely came from Kensington Palace. The vibe of the whole story was that Prince William threw a tantrum and demanded that Grosvenor snub the Sussexes, and then William leaked the whole thing as a slam on Harry. Meanwhile, Harry is playing with his children and dogs in sunny California while William rages to Roya. The whole thing is incredibly pathetic. Hilariously, they’re dragging Camilla into it now – there’s a long history of Grosvenor family weddings being the site of royal shenanigans, apparently.
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.’
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.
[From The Daily Mail]
It’s true that the 2004 wedding “seating snub” was some kind of turning point for Camilla, although Charles would not actually propose to Camilla until months after that wedding snub. Weirdly, I think the protocol around seating would be a lot looser at a society wedding than at a royal funeral, but what do I know. In any case, it absolutely sounds like Hugh Grosvenor is being used as pawn in one of William’s unhinged schemes, which is weird because Hugh is a very rich, very important person in British high society. William’s rage and need to drag Hugh into this mess could come back to bite William in a big way. You’ve got to think that many of those aristocrats have been looking for a way to put William in his place.
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