Duke of Westminster strikes a blow for gender equality

A growing number of blue-blooded women have complained about the 'injustice' of aristocratic estates being automatically handed down to their family's eldest male heir.

And now Britain's richest landowner has struck a blow for sexual equality.

I can reveal that the Duke of Westminster, who inherited his title when his father, Gerald, died suddenly last summer at the age of 64, is receiving the same sum from his family's estates as his three sisters.

Exact figures for their earnings are not publicly available but could run into millions every year.

The disclosure comes as a big surprise because it had been widely reported that the new Duke, Hugh, had inherited his father's vast £9.52 billion Grosvenor Estate, which includes large chunks of London's Mayfair and Belgravia.

Sebastian Shakespeare revealed that the Duke of Westminster, who inherited his title when his father, Gerald, died suddenly last summer at the age of 64, is receiving the same sum from his family's estates as his three sisters. The Duke of Westminster is pictured above center with Lady Edwina (left), their mother Natalia Grosvenor (second from left), Dan Snow (third from left), Lady Tamara (second from right) and Lady Viola (right)

Sebastian Shakespeare revealed that the Duke of Westminster, who inherited his title when his father, Gerald, died suddenly last summer at the age of 64, is receiving the same sum from his family's estates as his three sisters. The Duke of Westminster is pictured above center with Lady Edwina (left), their mother Natalia Grosvenor (second from left), Dan Snow (third from left), Lady Tamara (second from right) and Lady Viola (right)

Moreover, a spokesman confirms that Hugh, who works in the accounts department of a company that turns waste coffee grounds into biofuels, has declined to take up his father's post as chairman of the Grosvenor Estate because he feels he is too young. 

'The chairman of the Grosvenor Estate Trustees is much better held by a member of the family than by any of the other trustees but, at age 26, Hugh feels that he should gather some experience before taking up the role,' the spokesman tells me.

'So it has been agreed with him that the other trustees will chair meetings by rotation until he has such time and experience to take it on.'

The family provided details of their financial arrangements to society magazine Tatler, which reports: 'The ancient tradition of [male] primogeniture allowed Hughie to succeed to the

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