A shooting party due to have been hosted today (August 12) at the Duke of Westminster’s Abbeystead estate has been cancelled following his untimely death earlier this week.
The Glorious Twelfth is a significant date in the social calendar of the British aristocracy as it marks the start of the grouse shooting season.
And the shoot at the 18,000 acre estate in Lancashire has long been regarded as one of the centre pieces of the calendar.
Grosvenor Estate says the late duke, whose main home was Eaton Hall, near Chester, was ‘never more content than when he was on the grouse moor with a shotgun in hand’. He was at Abbeystead when he suffered a heart attack on Tuesday (August 9) but later died at the Royal Preston Hospital.
The estate has confirmed the shooting party at his country retreat in Abbeystead – frequently attended by members of the royal family, including Princes William and Harry – has been cancelled as a mark of respect.
Family and close friends would have been invited but the guest list for the 2016 event has not been released.
The Telegraph reports the duke’s son, Hugh Grosvenor, who has now inherited the title – along with the family’s £9.35 billion fortune – is understood to have taken the decision that it would not be appropriate to go ahead with the shoot.
Hugh was chosen by his close friends the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to be godfather to Prince George when he was christened in 2013.
The Telegraph says William, along with Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and other members of the royal family may have been due to attend.
The late Duke of Westminster was described in an obituary released by Grosvenor Estate as ‘a passionate country man’ who was ‘an excellent shot’.
The statement concluded: “He never lost his love of the outdoors – a countryman at heart he was never more content than when he was on the grouse moor with a shotgun in hand.”
Experts say the wet summer means there are only modest hopes for this year’s shooting season around the UK.
Damp weather and some late snow is likely to have affected bird numbers on British moors, with several Scottish estates either reducing their planned programme or cancelling it altogether.