News, Culture & Society

Duke of Westminster donates £12.5million to NHS in coronavirus fight

The billionaire Duke of Westminster has pledged £12.5million to help the NHS in its fight against coronavirus.

Landowner Hugh Grosvenor, 29, is the richest person under the age of 30 in the world with an estimated worth of £10.1billion. 

A close friend of the royal family’s, he is Prince George’s godfather and owns 200 acres of Belgravia and 100 acres of Mayfair, as well as the family’s sprawling estate in Cheshire. 

The Duke donated £2.5million to the Health Service when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out last month, but says he was so ‘humbled’ by the work of doctors and nurses he wanted to give another £10million.

His new pledge means he is now the biggest donor in Britain, towering over the money given by a host of celebrities including James McAvoy and the Clooneys.

The Duke of Westminster (pictured this year) is the richest person under the age of 30 in the world with an estimated wealth of £10.1billion 

The Duke is pictured with his close friend Prince William at an Army event in Leeds in June 2018

The Duke is pictured with his close friend Prince William at an Army event in Leeds in June 2018

The Duke is donating most of his money to NHS Charities Together, to provide respite, rehabilitation and mental health assistance to NHS staff and their families.

It comes as:  

  • The UK coronavirus death toll reached 12,868 today with 98,476 cases 
  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer urged ministers to set out post-lockdown plan 
  • He wants schools and non-essential shops to have re-opened by May 11 
  • 4,000 people feared to have died in care homes as they are not included in data
  • US President Donald Trump suspended $500m WHO funding over ‘failures’ 
  • Former MI6 boss Sir John Sawers accused China of ‘concealing’ COVID-19 
  • Amazon workers at a warehouse in Darlington walked out over lack of PPE  

He said in a statement: ‘On behalf of my family and everyone at the Grosvenor Estate, I want to say a huge thank you to all our amazing NHS staff and everyone providing critical frontline services.’

Who is the Duke of Westminster and what is the Westminster Foundation?

Hugh Grosvenor inherited his title and estate from his father, Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the sixth Duke of Westminster, upon his death in 2016.

When he became the seventh Duke of Westminster, he was handed around £9billion in inheritance as well as the 10,872-acre family estate at Eaton Hall in Cheshire.

At just 29, he is the richest person under the age of 30 in the world and believed to be worth £10.1billion.

With such monumental assets his tax bill is around £69million. 

He is close friends with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the youngest of Prince George’s godparents.

Mr Grosvenor is said to ‘own half of London’ and Vanity Fair described him as ‘baby-faced’ and ‘absurdly rich’, with 100 acres of land in Mayfair and 200 acres in Belgravia – two of the country’s wealthiest postcodes. 

He read countryside management at Newcastle University and later studied at Oxford.

After graduating, he worked in estate management for the Grosvenor Group before becoming an accounts manager at coffee recycling firm bio-bean, which collects waste coffee grounds and converts them into biofuels and biomass pellets. 

He has three sisters Tamara, Edwina and Viola and has been described as ‘Britain’s most eligible bachelor’

His eldest sister Tamara married one of Prince William’s closest friends Edward van Cutsem in 2004. 

His sister Edwina is married to the TV presenter and historian Dan Snow. 

The Duke’s 21st birthday party at his Cheshire estate is believed to have cost £5million and was attended by Prince Harry and 800 other guests.

The Westminster Foundation is run by the Duke of Westminster himself and the Grosvenor family businesses. 

It helps young people up to the age of 25 who are vulnerable and in need of support.  

The charity mainly focuses on Westminster, Cheshire and rural areas where the Grosvenors have personal connections. 

The foundation’s mission statement reads: ‘Our funding is focused on creating opportunities for young people and their families to have the resilience, skills and capacity to lead happy and healthy lives. 

‘Through creating these opportunities, we aim to tackle the causes and impact of inter-generational inequality.’  

‘We are all humbled and incredibly grateful that you are working tirelessly to keep us safe and keep the country functioning.

‘NHS staff and key workers don’t work in isolation. 

‘They have children and families whose health and wellbeing will also be highly impacted by this crisis. 

‘As they keep us safe, I want to help provide as much support to them and their families as we can.’ 

A sum of £5million will help create a Family Fund within NHS Charities Together, while £3million will go to national medical research and development linked to the COVID-19 and £2million to charities providing frontline support to those suffering the greatest long-term economic and social impact. 

The Duke said at the time of his first donation: ‘While the impact of this crisis is being felt immediately, the virus will sadly also affect people’s lives long into the future.

‘That’s why I’m keen to support the longer-term scientific and socio-economic response to the epidemic.’

Ellie Orton, chief executive of NHS Charities Together, said: ‘We know many NHS staff have chosen to keep their families safe by staying apart and focusing their time and energy to care for their patients and save lives.

‘Their dedication is not only remarkable but no doubt comes with its own price and, if I may speak on their behalf, we say a heartfelt thank you to the Westminster Foundation.’ 

The 29-year-old inherited his title and estate from his father, Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, the sixth Duke of Westminster, upon his death in 2016.

When he became the seventh Duke of Westminster he inherited a £9billion fortune and the sprawling family estate Eaton Hall in Cheshire.

Described as ‘absurdly rich’ and ‘baby-faced’ by Vanity Fair, he owns 200 acres of land in Belgravia and 100 acres in Mayfair, two of the country’s richest postcodes. 

The Grosvenor Group’s property portfolio extends to 1,500 sites across 60 countries. 

The family empire began in the 1600s when Sir Thomas Grosvenor married the heiress to large estates in Mayfair and Belgravia.

More than 300 years later they own the freeholds to the American Embassy in London and the Beaumont Hotel.

They also have considerable chunk of Silicon Valley, a shopping centre in Stockholm and a residential tower block in Tokyo.

The Grosvenor Group were largely responsible for the re-development of Liverpool city centre.  

Hugh Grosvenor has three sisters, Tamara, Edwina and Viola, who all attended a state primary school in The Wirral with him before moving onto private school.

The Duke read countryside management at Newcastle University and later studied at Oxford.

A map of London shows how much of the capital is owned by the Grosvenor family, including  200 acres in Belgravia and 100 in Mayfair - two of the capitals richest postcodes

A map of London shows how much of the capital is owned by the Grosvenor family, including  200 acres in Belgravia and 100 in Mayfair – two of the capitals richest postcodes 

The Cadogan Estate in Chelsea is among the many parts of central London owned by the Grosvenor Group

The Cadogan Estate in Chelsea is among the many parts of central London owned by the Grosvenor Group 

Kingston House in Knightsbridge, west London is also in the Grosvenor portfolio

Kingston House in Knightsbridge, west London is also in the Grosvenor portfolio 

Another part of the Cadogan Estate is pictured in Chelsea, west London

Another part of the Cadogan Estate is pictured in Chelsea, west London 

The Howard de Walden Estate is situated in Marylebone, central London, and is also owned by the Grosvenor Group

The Howard de Walden Estate is situated in Marylebone, central London, and is also owned by the Grosvenor Group 

After graduating, he worked in estate management for the Grosvenor Group before becoming an accounts manager at coffee recycling firm bio-bean, which collects waste coffee grounds and converts them into biofuels and biomass pellets. 

His 21st birthday at the 10,872-acre family estate in Cheshire was attended by a host of celebrities including Prince Harry, comedian Michael MacIntyre and the band Rizzle Kicks.

Around 800 guests were invited to the bash, which took place in a large marquee in the grounds at a cost of around £5million. 

The Duke of Westminster (third right) is pictured with his mother, The Duchess of Westminster (second from left), his sister Lady Edwina (left), Lady Tamara (second from right), and Lady Viola (right). Lady Edwina's husband, Dan Snow is pictured next to his mother

The Duke of Westminster (third right) is pictured with his mother, The Duchess of Westminster (second from left), his sister Lady Edwina (left), Lady Tamara (second from right), and Lady Viola (right). Lady Edwina’s husband, Dan Snow is pictured next to his mother 

The Duke is pictured with her mother, Natalia Grosvenor, the Duchess of Westminster at the Queen's Own Yeomanry in Yorkshire in September 2018

The Duke is pictured with her mother, Natalia Grosvenor, the Duchess of Westminster at the Queen’s Own Yeomanry in Yorkshire in September 2018 

The Duke's sprawling family seat, Eaton Hall in Cheshire, where his children were all brought up

The Duke of Westminster’s family seat is Eaton Hall in Cheshire, which stretches for more than 10,000 acres

How did the Grosvenor family build their empire?

The Grosvenor family acquired their first assets in the 1600s when Sir Thomas Grosvenor married a 12-year-old called Mary Davies, who was the heiress to much of the land that now makes up the wealthy areas of Mayfair and Belgravia in London.   

More than 300 years later, the Grosvenor Group now owns more than 1,500 properties in 60 countries.

In London, they own the freeholds to the American Embassy, the Beaumont Hotel and the Gagosian Gallery. 

As well as sprawling country estates at Eaton Hall in Cheshire and Abbeystead in Lancashire, their portfolio also includes most of Liverpool City Centre, a shopping centre in Stockholm, a residential tower block in Tokyo and a large chunk of Silicon Valley.   

Day-to-day he works in the accounts department of a company called Bio-Bean, which turns unused coffee grounds into biofuel.

They also sell coffee for £15.99 a bag on Amazon and are headquartered in Borough, south London.  

The Duke also helps the run the family’s Westminster Foundation, which was set up to support vulnerable people up to the age of 25 in Westminster, Cheshire and rural areas where the Grosvenors have personal connections.  

Mr Grosvenor’s contribution comes after 99-year-old Second World War hero Captain Tom Moore raised £5million for doing 100 lengths of his garden with the help of a zimmer frame.

The war veteran plans to have completed 100 laps of his garden in Bedfordshire by his 100th birthday on April 30. 

Today his fundraising page reached a staggering £5million in donations, with 90,000 people logging on at once to support his efforts to help the NHS. 

How Britons are donating millions to the NHS in the fight against coronavirus 

Ordinary Britons up and down the country have coughed up millions for the NHS since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

Today, 99-year-old Second World War hero Captain Tom Moore reached £5million in donations for doing 100 lengths of his garden with the help of a zimmer frame.

The war veteran plans to have completed 100 laps of his garden in Bedfordshire by his 100th birthday on April 30. 

On Wednesday his fundraising page reached a staggering £5million in donations, with 90,000 people logging on at once to support his efforts to help the NHS.

Captain Tom Moore is doing 100 lengths of his garden in Bedfordshire before he turns 100-years-old on April 30. So far his sponsored walk has raised more than £5million

Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan branded him a ‘hero’ on the show and donated £10,000 of his own money.

Captain Moore’s family wrote on his behalf on Twitter: ‘5 MILLION! Huge thank you to @JustGiving who had over 90,000 people on Tom’s page at one time, and had to try ensure that the site didn’t crash.

‘WOW – just speechless. #walkwithtom #tomorrowwillbeagoodday.’ 

Most of the money is being handed to NHS Charities Together, which combines 140 organisation that raise money for the Health Service.  

Actor James McAvoy has pledged £275,000 to help fund personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline NHS workers.

Meanwhile Russian oligarch and ex-banker Andrey Borodin, 51, and his model wife Tatiana Korsakova, 38, yesterday announced they were donating £1million to the NHS.

Ex-banker Andrey Borodin, 51, and his model wife Tatiana Korsakova, 38, are pictured together at The Roundhouse in London in June 2014

Ex-banker Andrey Borodin, 51, and his model wife Tatiana Korsakova, 38, are pictured together at The Roundhouse in London in June 2014 

Hailing doctors and nurses’ efforts ‘incredible’, they said: ‘We sincerely thank the brave and selfless NHS workers for their hard work and commitment.

‘We understand that there are thousands of NHS workers in our local community who go above and beyond in their patient care, and at this time more than ever.’ 

Mr Borodin was granted asylum in the UK in 2013 and is known for buying the most expensive house in Britain – a £140million 18th century mansion in Henley-on-Thames.   

Actor George Clooney and his human rights lawyer wife pledged £800,000 ($1million) to help efforts against the coronavirus outbreak in the USA, with a small chunk set aside for the NHS in the UK.       

Every Thursday evening at 8pm Britons have taken to their doorsteps, balconies and front gardens to clap for the NHS (residents in Morden, south London pictured)

Every Thursday evening at 8pm Britons have taken to their doorsteps, balconies and front gardens to clap for the NHS (residents in Morden, south London pictured) 

A family from Brixworth  are pictured clapping the NHS with chalk messages of thanks on their pavement last Thursday

A family from Brixworth  are pictured clapping the NHS with chalk messages of thanks on their pavement last Thursday 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk