The Potential Impact Of Centuries-Old Rule On The Future Children Of The Duke Of Westminster

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The Potential Impact Of Centuries-Old Rule On The Future Children Of The Duke Of Westminster

Hugh Grosvenor, 7th Duke of Westminster, is set to marry his bride, Olivia Henson, on 7 June, who will become the new Duchess of Westminster.

If the couple decide to have children in the future, they could be affected by a centuries-old rule that still favors male heirs in inheritance matters. Most peerages operate under male primogeniture, where the title can only be inherited by a male relative.

Under current laws, if the Duke and Duchess’ firstborn child is a daughter, she would not be entitled to inherit the Westminster title, family fortune, and estate. Instead, like Hugh’s three sisters, any potential daughters would be styled as lady, while his eldest son would be known as Earl Grosvenor until he inherits the dukedom.

This scenario mirrors Hugh’s own situation, as he has two elder sisters, Lady Tamara and Lady Edwina Grosvenor. When their father, Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, passed away in 2016, the family title passed to Hugh, his third child and only son.

Conservative MP Harriet Baldwin has proposed the Hereditary Titles (Female Succession) Bill, which aims to change the law to allow female heirs to inherit a hereditary peerage or baronetcy. The bill is scheduled for a second reading on 21 June.

The Succession to the Crown Act (2013)

The Prince and Princess of Wales’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, made history at the age of two by becoming the first female royal to benefit from changes in succession law.

The Succession to the Crown Act (2013) amended the provisions of the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, ending the system of male primogeniture. Under this old rule, a younger son could displace an elder daughter in the line of succession.

This law was updated ahead of Prince George’s birth in 2013, allowing a possible firstborn daughter of Prince William and Kate to take precedence over any younger brothers. The decision was unanimously approved at a Commonwealth summit in Australia in 2011, marking the end of a 300-year-old rule.

Though their firstborn was a son and their second child a daughter, it meant that when Prince Louis was born in 2018, Charlotte retained her place in the line to the throne.

The Act applies only to those born after 28 October 2011, so unfortunately Lady Louise Windsor, born in 2003, is still behind her younger brother, James, Earl of Wessex.

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