Hugh Grosvenor – the Duke of Westminster – is in a row with Army reservists over plans to evict them from their headquarters and turn it into a luxury hotel.
The Rifles Club in Mayfair has been the base of F Company, The 7th Battalion The Rifles, for over 140 years and was opened by the first Duke of Westminster in 1890.
Grosvenor, godfather to Prince George, has entered negotiations to reclaim ownership of the building following his father’s death in August last year. If successful, the Army reservists will be forced to evict the premises.
The Army reservists, who were nicknamed Grosvenor’s late father’s “unofficial bodyguard”, told the Telegraph that the decision would leave the Duke’s father “turning in his grave”.
An insider told the newspaper: “The Rifles have a long-standing association with the Grosvenor family, and were considered the unofficial bodyguard to the last Duke. But now that relationship seems to be over, and the new Duke is slinging us out. As soon as the new Crossrail is finished that building will be prime real estate.”
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was “approached by Grosvenor regarding the remaining lease”, which is believed to still have between 80 to 100 years left.
The MoD denied that the decision would lead to the disbanding of the F Company. It added: “[The Rifles] are not being disbanded and their move is not linked to the on-going lease negotiation. To suggest otherwise would be wrong.”