Hugh d’Avranches, one of the Conqueror’s henchmen,
with him at Hastings, got the Saxon earldom
of Chester and the palatine of Cheshire,
with its forests of deer and boar, as reward.
His nicknames were ‘Lupus’ and ‘Gros Veneur’
because he ravened the Welsh like a wolf
and he was a hunter and a glutton.
His descendant, Gerald Grosvenor, His Grace,
the late, sad 6th Duke of Westminster – holder
of twenty eight appointments, decorations,
medals, orders and titles, many bestowed
by the Queen; landlord of much of London’s
Belgravia and Mayfair, where dwell
Arab despots, Russian oligarchs
and celebrities from showbiz and fashion;
his motto being ‘Virtus Non Stemma’,
‘Virtue Not Pedigree’ – had riches
greater than the combined wealth of six
million of his poorest, fellow subjects.
And we are all, everyone of us, subjects
of Her Majesty. What a great leveller
our constitutional monarchy is!