TV historian Dan Snow says his brother-in-law, the seventh Duke of Westminster, is coping well despite the sad death of his father, the sixth duke.
Dan Snow is married to Lady Edwina, sister of Hugh Grosvenor, seventh Duke of Westminster, who took on the title and the Grosvenor empire when his dad passed away on August 9, 2016.
The duke’s death came out of the blue, aged 64, while out walking on his Abbeystead estate near Lancaster. He is buried at St Mary’s Church, Eccleston, near Chester and the family seat of Eaton Hall.
“It was totally tragic. He was so young, he was healthy. It was so sad,” Snow told The Times newspaper.
Hugh, 26, the only son of the late Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, has inherited his father’s estimated £9.35bn fortune, making him one of the richest people in the world. How is the new duke adapting to the role?
“He’s fine, he’s fine,” Snow told The Times. “Hereditary jobs are quite unusual nowadays. And they are pretty daunting.”
And he apparently hinted that his wife and her two sisters were lending support. “They’re a lovely, close family, really close. The four of them are a team. It’s extraordinary.”
Dan and Lady Edwina, who live in the New Forest, were accompanied by their children – Zia, Wolf and Orla – when they attended a memorial service for the late duke at Chester Cathedral last November along with other members of the Grosvenor family including the Duchess of Westminster. Dan’s famous father Peter Snow, the former Newsnight presenter, was also there.
The service came just the day after their wedding anniversary. They married at Bishop’s Lodge, Woolton, Liverpool, on November 27, 2010, at a ceremony conducted by then Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop James Jones. Lady Edwina is a prison reformer and at the time was personal assistant to Bishop Jones in his capacity as Bishop for Prisons.
On a 2015 visit to Chester’s King’s School, Dan told The Chronicle it was quite ‘daunting’ when he met his father-in-law, the late Duke of Westminster, for the first time but he needn’t have worried.
He said: “He’s not just rich and successful, he’s a General right, so he’s a general in the army, now that on its own would be quite scary but they are an extremely down-to-earth family and he treated me like everybody else. I was very lucky, because girlfriends’ dads can be a bit of a nightmare. He was great and they all welcomed me and I’m very blessed with my mother-in-law. It’s not every man that can say they look forward to their mother-in-law coming to stay.”
He continued: “You have kids and before you know it, you are part of the furniture. It’s all so weird at first, you know, driving up to Eaton Hall and thinking ‘Oh my God, what is going on around here?’ and before you know it, it’s like, oh well, that’s normal now. So that’s granny and whatever. But that’s human nature, that’s what we’re all like. We just adapt, things become so familiar so quickly.”
Dan’s latest TV series is BBC2’s 1066: A Year to Conquer England – a subject no doubt close to his heart as the Duke of Westminster can trace his lineage and wealth back to French ancestor Gilbert Grosvenor, a relation of William the Conqueror, whom he helped following the invasion.