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Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster

Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster

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Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster GCVO
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

 DSO
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 (familiarly "Bendor") (19 March 1879 – 19 July 1953) was the son of Victor Alexander Grosvenor, Earl Grosvenor and Lady Sibell Mary Lumley, the daughter of the 9th Earl of Scarborough. He was a grandson of Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster
Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster
Hugh Lupus Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster KG, PC, JP , styled Viscount Belgrave between 1831 and 1845 and Earl Grosvenor between 1845 and 1869 and known as the 3rd Marquess of Westminster between 1869 and 1874, was an English landowner, politician and racehorse owner.He inherited the estate of...

.

After succeeding his grandfather as Duke of Westminster
Duke of Westminster
The title Duke of Westminster was created by Queen Victoria in 1874 and bestowed upon Hugh Grosvenor, 3rd Marquess of Westminster. The current holder of the title is Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster....

 in 1899, he served in the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

 with the Imperial Yeomanry
Imperial Yeomanry
The Imperial Yeomanry was a British volunteer cavalry regiment that mainly saw action during the Second Boer War. Officially created on 24 December 1899, the regiment was based on members of standing Yeomanry regiments, but also contained a large contingent of mid-upper class English volunteers. In...

 until 1901, as an ADC
Aide-de-camp
An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant, secretary, or adjutant to a person of high rank, usually a senior military officer or a head of state...

 to Lord Roberts
Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts
Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, Bt, VC, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, KStJ, PC was a distinguished Indian born British soldier who regarded himself as Anglo-Irish and one of the most successful British commanders of the 19th century.-Early life:Born at Cawnpore, India, on...

 and Lord Milner
Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner
Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner KG, GCB, GCMG, PC was a British statesman and colonial administrator who played an influential leadership role in the formulation of foreign and domestic policy between the mid-1890s and early 1920s...

. He subsequently invested in land in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 and Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

.

In 1908, the Duke competed in the London Olympics
1908 Summer Olympics
The 1908 Summer Olympics, officially the Games of the IV Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event which was held in 1908 in London, England, United Kingdom. These games were originally scheduled to be held in Rome. At the time they were the fifth modern Olympic games...

 as a motorboat racer
Water motorsports at the 1908 Summer Olympics
At the 1908 Summer Olympics, three motorboat racing events were contested. Various sources refer to the sport as "water motorsports", "motor boats", and "power boating"...

 for Great Britain.

On 1 April 1908, he was named honorary lieutenant-colonel of the 16th Battalion
The Queen's Westminsters
The Queen's Westminsters was a regiment of the British Territorial Army .-History:It was formed on 31 December 1921 as the 16th Battalion , The London Regiment by the amalgamation of the 15th Battalion , The London Regiment and the 16th The Queen's Westminsters was a regiment of the British...

, The London Regiment
London Regiment
The London Regiment is a Territorial Army regiment in the British Army. It was first formed in 1908 in order to regiment the various Volunteer Force battalions in the newly formed County of London, each battalion having a distinctive uniform. The Volunteer Force was merged with the Yeomanry in 1908...

, a post he held until 1915. The Duke served with the Cheshire Yeomanry
Cheshire Yeomanry
The Cheshire Yeomanry was a yeomanry regiment that can trace its history back to 1797 when Sir John Fleming Leicester of Tabley raised a county regiment of light cavalry in response to the growing fears of invasion from Napoleonic France....

 during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, developing a prototype Rolls-Royce Armoured Car
Rolls-Royce Armoured Car
The Rolls-Royce armoured car was a British armoured car developed in 1914 and used in World War I and in the early part of World War II.-Production history:...

 for their use. During their 1916 campaign in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, as part of the Western Frontier Force
Western Frontier Force
The Western Frontier Force was a force of British Empire troops formed in response to the Senussi Uprising and coming under the command of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force....

 under General William Peyton
William Peyton
General Sir William Eliot Peyton KCB KCVO DSO was a British soldier, a general of the First World War who fought in several other wars.He was Delhi Herald of Arms Extraordinary at the time of the Delhi Durbar of 1911....

, the Duke (then a major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

) commanded the armoured cars of the regiment and took part in the destruction of a Senussi
Senussi
The Senussi or Sanussi refers to a Muslim political-religious order in Libya and the Sudan region founded in Mecca in 1837 by the Grand Senussi, Sayyid Muhammad ibn Ali as-Senussi. Senussi was concerned with both the decline of Islamic thought and spirituality and the weakening of Muslim political...

 force at the Battle of Agagia
Battle of Agagia
The Battle of Agagiya was a battle on February 26, 1916 in the Senussi Campaign which ended the Senussi Revolt in the Northern part of western Egypt. The battle took place at Aqaqia east of Sidi Barrani....

 on 26 February 1916. On 14 March 1916, he led the armoured cars on a raid that destroyed the enemy camp at Bir Asiso. Learning that the crews of HMT Moorina and HMS Tara were being held at Bir Hakkim, he led the armoured cars on a 120-mile dash to rescue them before returning. He received the DSO
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 for this exploit. He was subsequently promoted colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 and on 26 May 1917, he was named honorary colonel of the regiment.

In 1925, he was introduced to Gabrielle ("Coco") Chanel
Coco Chanel
Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist thought, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion. She was the founder of one of the most famous fashion brands, Chanel...

 after a party in Monte Carlo and pursued her. He was as extravagant with her as he was with all of his lovers. One famous story is that he hid a huge uncut emerald at the bottom of a crate of vegetables for her, another is that he showed up at Chanel's apartment with an enormous bouquet of flowers and was only recognized after Chanel's assistant tried to hand "the delivery boy" a tip.It is also reputed that he had her distinctive logo placed on lamposts on the Grosvenor estate in Central London, a story which is denied by the Grosvenor estate today, whilst not offering any alternative explanation as to what the sign may mean. He was Chanel's lover until 1930.

In 1931, the Duke, a Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 "outed" his brother-in-law, William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp
William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp
William Lygon, 7th Earl Beauchamp KG, KCMG, PC , styled Viscount Elmley until 1891, was a British Liberal politician. He was Governor of New South Wales between 1899 and 1901, a member of the Liberal administrations of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H...

 (1872–1938), as a homosexual to the King
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 and Queen
Mary of Teck
Mary of Teck was the queen consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Empress of India, as the wife of King-Emperor George V....

; he reportedly hoped to ruin the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major political parties of the United Kingdom during the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was a third party of negligible importance throughout the latter half of the 20th Century, before merging with the Social Democratic Party in 1988 to form the present day...

 through Beauchamp. Homosexuality was a criminal offence at the time, and the King was horrified, saying "I thought men like that shot themselves." During the run-up to World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, he supported various right-wing and anti-semitic causes, including the Right Club.

Marriages and issue


He married, firstly, Constance Edwina (Shelagh) Cornwallis-West (1876–1970), the sister of Daisy Princess von Pless
Daisy, Princess of Pless
Daisy, Princess of Pless , was a noted society beauty in the Edwardian period.- Early life :...

 and the youngest daughter of William Cornwallis-West
William Cornwallis-West
William Cornwallis Cornwallis-West VD JP , was a British politician.Born William Cornwallis West, he was the son of Frederick Richard West, son of the Hon. Frederick West, younger son of John West, 2nd Earl De La Warr. His mother was Theresa, daughter of John Whitby...

, descended from John West, 2nd Earl de la Warr
Earl De La Warr
Earl De La Warr is a title created in the Peerage of Great Britain in 1761.In the United States, Thomas West, 3rd baron is often named in history books simply as Lord Delaware. He served as governor of the Jamestown Colony, and the Delaware Bay was named after him...

, on 16 February 1901 and they were divorced in 1919. They had three children:
  • Lady Ursula Mary Olivia Grosvenor (21 February 1902 – 1978), married, firstly, William Patrick Filmer-Sankey in 1924 and was divorced in 1940. She married, secondly, Major Stephen Vernon in 1940. By her first husband she had two sons, Patrick and Christopher Filmer-Sankey, the younger dying in her lifetime. Her child by her second husband died young. Lady Ursula's descendants by her first husband are the sole descendants of the 2nd Duke. They reside in the UK, Australia and Sweden.
  • Edward George Hugh Grosvenor, Earl Grosvenor (1904–1909), who died aged 4, after an operation for appendicitis.
  • Lady Mary Constance Grosvenor (27 June 1910–2000). Lady Mary was a keen sportswoman and racing driver, competing on rallies
    Rallying
    Rallying, also known as rally racing, is a form of auto racing that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars...

     such as the Royal Automobile Club
    Royal Automobile Club
    The Royal Automobile Club is a private club and is not to be confused with RAC plc, a motorists' organisation, which it formerly owned.It has two club houses, one in London at 89-91 Pall Mall, and the other in the countryside at Woodcote Park, Surrey, next to the City of London Freemen's School...

     (RAC) and Royal Scottish Automobile Club (RSAC) in the 1930s. She used two Riley Sprites for pre-war hillclimbs
    Hillclimbing
    Hillclimbing is a branch of motorsport in which drivers compete against the clock to complete an uphill course....

    , then switched in 1947 to a Bugatti T35; an Alta and Frazer Nash
    Frazer Nash
    Frazer Nash was a British sports car manufacturer and engineering company founded by Archibald Frazer-Nash in 1922. It produced sports cars incorporating a unique multi-chain transmission before World War II and also imported BMW cars to the UK. After the war it continued producing sports cars with...

     Le Mans Replica. She retired in 1951 after her father's death, in order to manage her estates in South Africa
    South Africa
    The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

    , Kenya
    Kenya
    Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

     and Scotland
    Scotland
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

    . She remained unmarried and lived mainly in Scotland.


The Duke married, secondly, Violet Mary Rowley, née Nelson (1891–1983), daughter of Sir William Nelson, 1st Baronet
Nelson Baronets
There have been two Baronetcies created for persons with the surname Nelson, both in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. Both creations are extant as of 2010.-Nelson Baronets, of Acton Park :...

 and former wife of George Rowley, on 26 November 1920 and they were divorced in 1926. Violet, Duchess of Westminster remarried thirdly 3 October 1927 Hon. Frederick Heyworth Cripps
Baron Parmoor
Baron Parmoor, of Frieth in the County of Buckingham, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1914 for the lawyer and politician Sir Charles Cripps. Two of his sons, the second and third Baron, both succeeded in the title. The third Baron was succeeded by his son, the...

 (later 3rd Baron Parmoor), by whom she had issue, the present 4th Baron Parmoor
Baron Parmoor
Baron Parmoor, of Frieth in the County of Buckingham, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1914 for the lawyer and politician Sir Charles Cripps. Two of his sons, the second and third Baron, both succeeded in the title. The third Baron was succeeded by his son, the...

 (b. 1929).

Westminster married, thirdly, Hon. Loelia Mary Ponsonby (1902–1993), daughter of Frederick Ponsonby, 1st Baron Sysonby
Frederick Ponsonby, 1st Baron Sysonby
Frederick Edward Grey Ponsonby, 1st Baron Sysonby GCB GCVO PC , was a British soldier and courtier.Ponsonby was the second son of General Sir Henry Ponsonby and his wife the Hon. Mary Elizabeth...

, on 20 February 1930. They were divorced in 1947 after several years of separation. Some years after his death, she remarried (as his 2nd wife) on 1 August 1969 the divorced Sir Martin Lindsay of Dowhill, 1st Bt
Sir Martin Lindsay, 1st Baronet
Sir Martin Alexander Lindsay, 1st Baronet, CBE, DSO was a British army officer and explorer. He came to fame in the 1930s leading a succession of expeditions to Greenland, and later went into politics; he was elected as a Conservative Party Member of Parliament after the Second World...

.

He married, fourthly, Anne (Nancy) Winifred Sullivan (1915–2003), on 7 February 1947. Anne, Duchess of Westminster outlived her husband by fifty years. She was the owner of Arkle
Arkle
Arkle was a famous Irish Thoroughbred racehorse. A bay gelding by Archive out of Bright Cherry, his grandsire was the unbeaten flat racehorse and prepotent sire Nearco. Arkle was bred at Ballymacoll Stud, County Meath by Mrs. Mary Alison Baker of Malahow House, near Naul, County Dublin...

, the champion racehorse, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase in the United Kingdom which is open to horses aged five years or older. It is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 3 miles and 2½ furlongs , and during its running there are twenty-two fences to be jumped...

 three times in the 1960s.

The Duke died in 1953, aged 74, leaving surviving issue two daughters. His titles and the entailed Westminster estate passed to his cousin, William Grosvenor
William Grosvenor, 3rd Duke of Westminster
William Grosvenor, 3rd Duke of Westminster was the son of Lord Henry Grosvenor and a grandson of Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster. On his mother's side, he was a great x2 grandson of William IV....

, and thence to the two sons of his youngest half-uncle Lord Hugh Grosvenor
Lord Hugh Grosvenor
Captain Lord Hugh William Grosvenor was the son of Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster and his second wife, formerly The Hon...

 (killed in action 1914). The title is now held by the 6th Duke
Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster
Major-General Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster, , is the son of Robert George Grosvenor, 5th Duke of Westminster, and his wife Hon. Viola Maud Lyttelton. He is the owner of property company Grosvenor Group...

, who was born in the 2nd Duke's lifetime.

External links