Robert Grosvenor, 5th Duke of Westminster

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Robert Grosvenor, 5th Duke of Westminster : biography

24 April 1910 – 19 February 1979

Lieutenant-Colonel Robert George Grosvenor, 5th Duke of Westminster (24 April 1910 – 19 February 1979), was a British soldier, landowner, businessman and politician. In the 1970s he was the richest man in Britain.

Political career

Grosvenor lived in Northern Ireland most of his life. His house was on an island in the middle of Lough Erne. In 1952 he was appointed High Sheriff of Fermanagh.

In the 1955 general election, he was elected to Parliament as member for Fermanagh & South Tyrone. Re-elected in 1959, he retired in 1964, he was succeeded by his cousin, the Marquess of Hamilton. In parliament he stuck mainly to constituency issues, but was responsible for a bill to help increase adoptions, which became the Adoption Act 1964. He was described in his predecessor’s maiden speech as popular and well-liked.

Early life

Grosvenor was born Robert Grosvenor, the son of Lord Hugh Grosvenor, sixth son and tenth child of Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster by his second wife, the Honourable Katherine Cavendish. His mother, Lady Mabel Crichton, was the daughter of John Crichton, 4th Earl Erne.

He was educated at Eton College, an all-boys public boarding school in the village of Eton, Berkshire. He was a member of the school’s contingent of the junior division of the Officer Training Corps. He reached the rank of cadet lance corporal.

Military career

On 28 June 1938, Grosvenor was commissioned into the 11th (City of London) Light Anti-Aircraft Brigade, a Territorial Army of the Royal Artillery, as a second lieutenant. He ended World War II as a war substantive major.

On 1 May 1947, he transferred to the City of London Yeomanry and was promoted from his pre-was substantive rank of second lieutenant to major with seniority from 24 April 1944. His service number was 76151. He transferred to the North Irish Horse on 1 May 1949. On ll November 1949, he was awarded the Efficiency Decoration (TD) for long service with the Territorial Army. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel on 15 February 1953. He was awarded a clasp to his Efficiency Decoration on 26 October 1954. On 14 February 1956, he moved from the Active List to the Territorial Army Reserve of Officers. He resigned his commission on 15 April 1960 and was permitted to retain the rank of lieutenant colonel.


On 3 December, 1946, he married Hon. Viola Maud Lyttelton, a daughter of the 9th Viscount Cobham and they had three children:

  • Lady Leonora Mary Grosvenor (b. 1 February 1949), married Thomas Patrick Anson, 5th Earl of Lichfield and had issue.
  • Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster (b. 22 December 1951), married Natalia Phillips and had issue.
  • Lady Jane Meriel Grosvenor (b. 8 February 1953), married Guy David Innes-Ker, 10th Duke of Roxburghe and had issue.

In 1963, his cousin died and his brother Gerald became Duke of Westminster. A Royal Warrant of Precedence was issued to allow him to adopt the style of Lord Robert Grosvenor. Upon his brother’s death in 1967, Robert became 5th Duke of Westminster. Although he took his seat in the House of Lords, he never spoke, surprisingly considering his political career. Westminster was appointed honorary colonel of the North Irish Horse in 1971. He died in Enniskillen in 1979.