LONDON • The sudden death of the Duke of Westminster on Tuesday has turned his son into not only an overnight billionaire and the third richest man in Britain, but also the youngest one among the world's 400 richest people.
The 25-year-old Hugh Richard Louis Grosvenor - now the Seventh Duke - has also become one of Britain's most eligible bachelors after inheriting his father's £9.3 billion (S$16.2 billion) estate.
He is the godfather of three- year- old Prince George, who is third in line to the throne after his grandfather Charles and father William.
The Grosvenor family estate includes hundreds of acres in London's Belgravia and Mayfair - two of the most expensive areas in the country- country homes and Grosvenor Group, the London- based real estate firm with assets under management of £13 billion at the end of last year.
The late Duke Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor died on Tuesday at age 64. He had been taken to hospital from his sprawling country estate Abbeystead, where he had "suddenly been taken ill". He is believed to have suffered a heart attack.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were "deeply shocked and greatly saddened" by the sudden death, a spokesman said, while Queen Elizabeth and her husband Philip will send a private message of condolence to the Grosvenor family.
The late duke and his wife Natalia, who is Prince William's godmother, have three daughters and one son.
"The Grosvenor Estate is subject to a 1933 Act of Parliament, the Grosvenor Estate Act, which effectively restricts inheritance to the male line," said Ms Marilyn McKeever, a London-based lawyer at Berwin Leighton Paisner.
The young duke is four years younger than Wal-Mart heir Lukas Walton, the next youngest billionaire on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Mark Zuckerberg are next at age 32. Mr Zuckerberg's US$55 billion (S$74 billion) fortune, which has risen US$9.2 billion this year, is almost 11/2 times larger than the combined US$37 billion net worth of the other three.
Though not much is known about the new duke, British media have trotted out pictures of him partying with his friends - and posing with a sex doll.
A friend quoted in The Sun tabloid described him as "a really down- to-earth bloke who never acted like a toff and is just a really good guy".
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he started working at the Grosvenor Group in 2014 and worked in every office around the world, including the San Francisco and Hong Kong bureaus.
He returned to London earlier this year to head up a coffee recycling firm, bio-bean, which collects waste coffee grounds and turns them into biofuels.
BLOOMBERG, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE