In August 2016, sixty-four-year-old Gerald Grosvenor, the sixth Duke of Westminster, had a sudden heart attack during a walk in the family estate Abbeystead House in Lancashire. So the seventh duke was his twenty-five-year-old son Hugh. Together with the title, he received a fortune of nine and a half billion pounds and the title of the richest man in the world under the age of thirty. Hunters for money rushed to take the turn to the heart of his lordship with the appearance of Prince Harry. Some strategically-minded people decided to google a little further than references to the fact that the newfound favorite of the public is not married. And they dropped their hands. Hugh always lived below the radar of the tabloids. However, as it is necessary in such cases, the executor did not have time to read the papa testament, as emerged pictures of the times of the dashing student youth of the heir at Newcastle University. But also on them Hugh is having fun in a nightclub in an embrace with a maximum of an inflatable woman (and also he is terribly going to a pink plush overall with an application in the form of bears). No list of former girls, not a tiny glass of whiskey, dissolved in the waves of memory cards of the ubiquitous London paparazzi – no similarity to Harry’s bully, except for the red whirlwinds, was found. There is not even an instagram to write this pay-boy to the directive. dissolved in the waves of memory cards of the ubiquitous London paparazzi – there was no similarity to the hooligan Harry, except for the red whirlwinds. There is not even an instagram to write this pay-boy to the directive. dissolved in the waves of memory cards of the ubiquitous London paparazzi – there was no similarity to the hooligan Harry, except for the red whirlwinds. There is not even an instagram to write this pay-boy to the directive.
January 29, Huey, as his friends call him, turn twenty-seven. He works a lot – in the office, a simple manager at a small London firm Bio Bean, which collects coffee grounds in restaurants, coffee houses and other places of sweet life and processes it into biofuel. In his spare time from the worries about the environment, the young billionaire surrenders to joys except on the cricket pitch (he plays very well). A weekend spent in the family estate Eton Hall in Cheshire, from which to Soho clubs and Knightsbridge boutiques four hours by car.
By the way, it is likely that the buildings in which your favorite London clubs and boutiques are located belong just to Hugh. Grosvenor Group, whose head he became after his father’s death, owns more than one and a half thousand properties in sixty countries. For example, half Mayfair (including the buildings of the US Embassy, the Beaumont Hotel and the Gagosian Gallery). One hundred and twenty one hectares of Belgravia is also the property of this family, like forty thousand hectares in Scotland and thirteen thousand in Spain. And a decent piece of Silicon Valley, the center of Liverpool and the whole island of Annasis, the industrial heart of Canada’s Vancouver.
Now the most interesting thing: Hugh does not dispose of all this. In the fifties, the Grosvenors placed their assets in several trust funds, so that family values, accumulated for centuries, did not waste the heirs, former wives and other black sheep who at all times spoiled the noble English herds, and in our last days especially. The Grosvenor strategy allows them to make a profit, but if, for example, Hugh suddenly wants to sell something, even on trivia (let’s say, the same center in Liverpool), he will not be able to do it without the consent of the board of trustees. Now there are seven of them, including the duke himself. The Executive Trustee is Mark Preston, aka SEO Grosvenor Group.
Not that the Grosvenors are the smartest. As they say, more than fifty billion family dollars of the Rothschilds are controlled by trusts. In fact, Hugh Grosvenor in the strict sense of the word can not even be called a billionaire. He is a nobleman of the XXI century: formally the head of a large family and a large estate, bearing the burden of responsibility for them, but in fact a completely free person. His late father assembled a team of strong professionals and, together with her, ruled his business empire for many years. The current duke did not change anything and trusted his father’s advisers. It seems that this was the right decision. Because of breksite, the real estate market in London is feverish. The profit of Grosvenor Group in 2016 also decreased, but not as predicted. The company earned more than seventy-nine million pounds. How many of these are laid by Hugh, and how many of his family members, Is a mystery. However, as it was possible to find out to “Tatler”, the shares of the duke and his three sisters are equal.
Grosvenors own half of Mayfair, a piece of Silicon Valley and other expensive hearts of “Tatler” addresses.
The elder sister, the thirty-eight-year-old Lady Tamara, is married to Edward van Katsem, the son of a Norfolk landowner, the godchild of Prince Charles. Thirty-six-year-old Edwin, actively supporting the reform of British prisons by the word and pound sterling, is the wife of historian and TV presenter Dan Snow, great-grandson of Prime Minister Lloyd George (Snow likes to joke that unlike his colleagues, he does not need to take extra work to make ends meet) . Younger sister, Lady Violet, twenty-five. She is an ambassador of the charitable organization Kidscape, which is fighting against the harassment of children, and is going to engage in art therapy.
In addition to the sisters, the current duke has to share million dividends with his mother, Natalia, a fifty-eight-year-old. She is the daughter of the godmother Prince Andrew, a relative of Queen Elizabeth, the great-granddaughter of Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich, the great-great-granddaughter of Nicholas I and Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin (one of the duke’s nephews is called: Jake Luis Hannibal). Natalia Grosvenor will wear the title of Duchess of Westminster until her son marries.
The office of the company Bio Bean, in which the duke serves, is located near the market Borough Market. Its biofuel from the coffee grounds for fireplaces, stoves and barbecue can be bought on Amazon – £ 9.99 for a pack of sixteen briquettes. Burning, they give a pleasant aroma of coffee. Now the company is developing a technology for processing spiked coffee into fuel for cars. As employees of Bio Bean joke, “start your day with a fragrant diesel engine.” The fact that the duke works like an ordinary clerk, five days a week, does not surprise his friends at all. The father instilled in all his children a love of work, but spoke of the son and heir as follows: “He was born with the longest silver spoon in his mouth, but he can not eat with it all his life.”
Hugh studied at the state elementary school in Eccleston, then at the Elmsmere college in Shropshire (the year of study costs thirty-one thousand pounds). Grosvenor Jr. achieved success in his studies, was elected elder and elder in his dormitory, and also became the star of the school cricket team. At Newcastle University he studied agricultural management and graduated with an average score of 4.0 or higher (Hugh is the first duke of Westminster with a college education for almost a century and a half that exists as a title).
Only a few in the school and university knew about which Hugh family. “He looked like an ordinary guy,” recalls Bella Akrett, who ran the campus website at Newcastle University. At the age of twenty-one, his father arranged a sumptuous party in the family estate of Eaton Hall (rumored to cost five million pounds). Friends Grosvenor Jr., who arrived on the holiday, were shocked. Belgrave Avenue, a three-kilometer private road leading from the highway to the estate of almost four and a half thousand hectares, was decorated with lanterns. In a huge tent eight hundred guests were served steak and chips. Among other friends of the birthday was Prince Harry (Hugh – one of the godfathers son of Prince William, Prince George, and the previous Duke was friends with Prince Charles).
The dress code for the birthday was “black tie and neon”. One of the most highly paid comedians of the world, the host of Michael McIntyre’s Big Show on BBC Michael McIntyre (for the sake of his jokes, the duke-father did not spare forty thousand pounds) was responsible for the contest. Hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks were responsible for the soundtrack. “Huey is a nice fellow,” one of the performers, Jordan Stevens, shared his impressions. – It was wild to see him among all this wealth, because he did not fit there at all. Everyone with whom I talked at the party was shocked, said: “Stunned! I was sitting at the lessons at the next desk and had no idea that he had that much money.”
However, at the celebration there was one guest who knew everything about Hugh. Twenty-six-year-old Harriet Tomlinson, his girlfriend at Ellesmere College, was a Hugh girl for more than ten years (they broke up and started dating again). Her father was engaged in the family business for the production of curtains, but in 2013 the company closed due to financial difficulties. Harriet grew up in a Victorian house on the banks of the River Dee in Chester, twenty minutes by car from Eton Hall. According to a source in the company Grosvenor Estate, which deals with the London real estate Grosvenor Group, Hugh – a frequent visitor to the Tomlinsons. Previously, Hugh and Harriet liked to walk along the river on a motor boat, climbing up to the Grosvenor estates. The young people parted last summer, but again came together after the death of Father Hugh. Then we spent a vacation at a resort in California. Harriet is a certified teacher, graduated from Cardiff University, works as a consultant in the recruiting agency Deverell Smith in the City of London. Colleagues describe it as “cheerful and hardworking.”
“He was born with the longest silver spoon in his mouth, but he can not live all his life only with her.”
Family business from the departure of the duke to absolutely deserved rest even won. “The duke had the most amazing blue eyes I saw, and they radiated kindness,” says Mira Bar-Hillel, a journalist specializing in real estate. “When the duke took an active role in the life of the company, she was more likely an agency for renting his numerous landed estates,” says one of the commercial tenants of Grosvenor Estate. “Now it has become a full-fledged player in the highly competitive field of real estate business, a transnational corporation.”
Apparently, the seventh duke in the transnational corporation does not want to work. He still refuses even the role of chairman of the board of trustees of family trusts – this post historically occupies the head of the family. Hugh graduated from the Grosvenor Estate training program, worked on key areas of the company’s business, but seemed to have decided that he was not following the way with real estate.
Perhaps he is afraid of excessive public attention. After the death of his father, the press accused the Grosvenors that their trusts help to evade inheritance taxes – given the size of the state, the sixth duke would have to give the state billions of pounds. The family traditionally does not disclose financial information, but for the British “Tatler” made an exception. “Trusts were created not to evade taxes, but to ensure the safety of the finances,” says Grosvenorov’s spokesman. – The duke himself, his family and trusts pay income tax and tax on capital gains in full. In addition to this, every ten years, trusts pay the treasury to the treasury, calculated from the value of their assets. In this way, The state instead of a one-time inheritance tax receives an impressive amount every ten years “. Gerald Grosvenor, such gossip would surely upset you. He was a supporter of fair play. So, in 1990, the Council of Westminster decided to renovate five hundred and twenty-three apartments in the London area of Pimlico, leased from the company Grosvenor in 1937. However, under the 1937 treaty, the apartments had to be surrendered to representatives of the “working class” at a fair price. The council’s plans would not allow this condition to continue. The Duke was forced to intervene. He sued and ensured that the council clearly followed the terms of the contract. When Margaret Thatcher introduced her poll tax and the families of the tenants fell under his influence, Gerald Grosvenor paid the required amount instead of them, simultaneously calling this tax “unbearable.”
But the most important thing for Father Hugh was the name of the family and its heritage. “This land,” the duke once said, “has been our property for nine hundred years, and I hope that at least another nine hundred will remain.” Gerald Grosvenor literally put his life on it so that it happened. His son probably learned the lesson. Perhaps it will become a role model for other heirs of great fortunes: business in the 21st century should be dealt with by specially trained people. As they say in England, about as long as the Grosvenors own half the center of London, live and let live. Maybe that’s why the richest young man in the world does not need even instagram.