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Pictured: First official shots of Duchess of Westminster in wedding dress

In Europe
June 08, 2024

The newlywed Duchess of Westminster is seen wearing her ivory silk gown in the gardens of her new estate in the first official pictures of the society wedding of the year.

The Duke of Westminster and his bride extended a “special thank you” to well-wishers as they released images of Friday’s event.

They include an elegant portrait of the Duchess, Olivia Henson, wearing her gown with a two-metre train designed by Emma Victoria Payne.

Clutching a bouquet of flowers picked from the grounds of Eaton Hall, the Duchess smiles as her dress, featuring an incredible embroidery design, is laid out for show.

Captured by the photographer Benjamin Wheeler, the small album gives a glimpse inside the reception on the couple’s Cheshire estate.

Hand in hand, the pair are also pictured in a captivating black-and-white photo as they are showered in what appears to be confetti by delighted guests.

The Duke and Duchess of Westminster pictured as they are showered in what appears to be confetti

The Duke and Duchess of Westminster pictured as they are showered in what appears to be confetti – The Duke and Duchess of Westminster/Benjamin Wheeler/PA

Releasing the pictures, the Duke and Duchess of Westminster extended their gratitude to those in Chester who shared their big day.

They said: “We are deeply grateful to everyone who supported us yesterday and want to extend a special thank you to those in Chester who helped make our day so memorable.

“We have been incredibly touched by everyone’s amazing support and warm wishes.”

Their thanks come after the pair tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at Chester Cathedral on Friday, watched on by an array of well-heeled guests including the Prince of Wales and Princess Eugenie.

Ahead of the service, which was led by the Very Rev Dr Tim Stratford, the Dean of Chester, the pair are said to have made specific choices for scripture and hymns that are very “significant for them”.

The Telegraph can reveal that the pair settled on three hymns including I Vow to Thee My Country and Dear Lord and Father of Mankind.

The reception at the Eaton Hall estate featured jazz music and “tasteful canopies”, while the evening party saw guests treated to an impressive display of fireworks that could be seen from Chester city centre, almost five miles away.

The Duchess of Westminster in her wedding car

The pair tied the knot in a lavish ceremony at Chester Cathedral on Friday – The Duke and Duchess of Westminster/Benjamin Wheeler/PA

Speaking after the ceremony, the dean said: “It was really lovely, all went swimmingly. It was really dignified and loving.”

He added: “The reception was beautiful. There was live music. It [the food] was lovely and very tasteful”.

The Right Rev Mark Tanner, the Bishop of Chester, who preached at the service, added: “It was a beautiful occasion and it’s a great honour to host it here. Chester scrubs up so well.”

The big day got underway at first light on Friday, as sniffer dogs patrolled the streets around the cathedral.

A sustainable brown carpet – a notable departure from the traditional red – was rolled out at the entrance below an impressive display of greenery erected over the doorway.

Much of the foliage for the wedding was sourced from the grounds of the family estate.

The flowers included rambling roses, philadelphus, campanula and orlaya grandiflora, while birch trees lined the aisle of the cathedral.

Crowds gathered from the early morning, many dressed up in their Sunday best and others draped in Union flags.

Bunting and camping chairs lined the street as excited wellwishers eagerly awaited the arrival of the Prince of Wales and the groom, himself a local celebrity.

The Duke and Duchess of Westminster at their wedding in Chester

The Duchess, who grew up in London and Oxfordshire, has worked in the sustainable food and drinks industry – The Duke and Duchess of Westminster/Benjamin Wheeler/PA

Not even a pair of Just Stop Oil activists, who were arrested after they tried to disrupt the wedding, could dampen spirits.

The activists – an NHS nurse and a care worker – let off a fire extinguisher, spraying orange powder as the newlyweds left Chester Cathedral.

In the nearby village of Eccleston, residents threw a small private party at the town hall on Saturday to mark the occasion.

The Duke, known to his friends as Hughie, inherited his title on the death of his father, Gerald, in 2016, and with it control of a fortune worth an estimated £10 billion.

But since their engagement was announced last April, the couple have been at pains to insist that the Chester community where they will put down their roots would be at the heart of their celebration, funding the distribution of free ice creams and donating the flowers to local charities.

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

The Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex were ushers at the wedding of his sister Lady Tamara Grosvenor at the cathedral in 2004.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that a 90-year-old academic living in Australia could become the saviour of the Duke’s family title first bestowed on his ancestors at William IV’s coronation in 1831.

If the newlyweds do not have a son, the historic Duke of Westminster title will die with him.

However, his subsidiary title, the Marquess of Westminster, will live on through the Earl of Wilton, his fourth cousin once removed, who lives in Melbourne and also happens to be related, through marriage, to Ms Henson.

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