'Understanding Between Two Friends' (Exclusive): Prince Harry Declined Invite to Duke of Westminster's Wedding

Prince Harry was invited to Britain's wedding of the year, but both parties recognized the challenges of his attendance

Published Time: 04.06.2024 - 20:31:05 Modified Time: 04.06.2024 - 20:31:05

Prince Harry was invited to Britain's wedding of the year, but both parties recognized the challenges of his attendance.

PEOPLE confirms that the Duke of Sussex, 39, was invited to the upcoming wedding of Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster, to Olivia Henson at Chester Cathedral in northern England on June 7. However, there was an acknowledgment on both sides that it would be difficult for Harry to attend. Meanwhile, Prince William is expected to serve as an usher at what is regarded as the society wedding of the year.

It was an "understanding between the two friends," a source describes the conversation between the two dukes. An insider close to the bride and groom tells PEOPLE that Harry and the Duke of Westminster mutually made the agreement.

The decision certainly avoided the inevitable clamor had estranged brothers Prince William, 41, and Prince Harry both attended the nuptials, eliminating the possibility of the big day being overshadowed for the couple.

Transatlantic travel to the U.K. is fraught for Harry due to security challenges in his home country. His official support was removed after he and his wife, Meghan Markle, stepped back from their royal roles and relocated to her home state of California in 2020. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex can also no longer use Frogmore Cottage, their former home in Windsor Great Park, as a base during stays in the U.K.

Moreover, Prince Harry's RSVP removes any difficulty of being shown to his seat by his brother, who will welcome guests and help them find their place in the church's pews on Friday. 

The Duke of Sussex sends "his love a -

nd support and admiration for the couple" for their wedding day, the source tells PEOPLE.

Hugh is a godfather to Prince Harry and Meghan's 5-year-old son, Prince Archie, as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton's eldest son, Prince George, 10.

Beyond the Prince of Wales, other prominent guests at the summer nuptials will be Grosvenor's sisters, Lady Edwina and Lady Tamara, and their husbands, broadcaster Dan Snow and banker Edward van Cutsem.

The Times summarized the upcoming wedding as "the most royal nonroyal wedding of the year, with members of Britain’s oldest and wealthiest aristocratic families heading north." Hugh, 33, and Olivia, 31, announced their engagement in April 2023 after two years of dating, and the bride will become the new Duchess of Westminster when they tie the knot. Hugh inherited the title at age 25 when his father died in 2016, and the family's net worth is estimated at $12.8 billion.

In further ties to the royal family, the Duke of Westminster is a godson of King Charles and his mother is a godmother to Prince William.

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King Charles and Princess Kate, who are both undergoing cancer treatment, are not expected to attend the wedding.

King Charles, 75, resumed public-facing duties in late April after the palace announced his diagnosis in February, while the Princess of Wales, 42, has remained out of the spotlight since sharing the news about her health in March.

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