Hugh van Cutsem

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Hugh van Cutsem
Hugh van Cutsem.jpg
Hugh Bernard Edward van Cutsem

(1941-07-21)21 July 1941
Died2 September 2013(2013-09-02) (aged 72)
EducationAmpleforth College
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Emilie Quarles van Ufford (m. 1971)
ChildrenEdward van Cutsem
Hugh Ralph van Cutsem
Nicholas van Cutsem
William van Cutsem
Parent(s)Bernard van Cutsem
Mary Compton
RelativesJonkheer Pieter Quarles van Ufford (father-in-law)

Hugh van Cutsem (21 July 1941 – 2 September 2013) was an English landowner, banker, businessman, and horse-breeder.

Early life[edit]

Hugh Bernard Edward van Cutsem was born on 21 July 1941.[1][2][3] His father, Bernard van Cutsem (1916–1975), was a millionaire horse trainer and breeder.[2][3] His mother was Mary Compton.[2][3] The van Cutsems were Roman Catholic of Flemish origin who had moved to England in the nineteenth century.[2] He was educated at Sunningdale School and Ampleforth College,[4] a Roman Catholic boarding school in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, and graduated from the University of Cambridge.[2][3][5][6][7] He then served as an officer in the Life Guards.[2]

Business career[edit]

Van Cutsem worked as an investment banker at Hambros Bank.[2][6] Later, he started his own company and purchased further companies, including a data storage company.[2][6]


Van Cutsem inherited his father's stud Northmore Farm in Exning near Newmarket, Suffolk in 1976.[2] He also owned a 4,000-acre estate in Norfolk, best known for its private wild game shoots.[2][5] In 2001, the estate had thirty-five pairs of Stone-curlews, a very rare bird.[2] On top of this, he owned a hunting lodge and grouse moor on the North Yorkshire-Cumbria border.[2] In the 1990s, he sold his father's farm in Exning and purchased the Hilborough estate in Norfolk, where he transferred his horsebreeding operations.[2] In 1994, he won a Country Landowners' Association for his restoration of an old barn on the Hilborough estate; Prince Charles presented the award.[2]

He was a founding member of the Countryside Movement, a conservationist non-profit organization.[2] He was also a significant fundraiser for the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, a British charity highlighting game and wildlife management for the benefit of conservation.[2] Moreover, he served as Chairman of the Countryside Business Trust.[2] He was also elected to the Council of the National Trust.[2]

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 10 June 1971, he married Emilie Quarles van Ufford, who was born in the Netherlands and a daughter of Jonkheer Pieter Quarles van Ufford, at Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks.[1][2][3][5][6] They had four sons:[2][3][5][6]

The family rented Anmer Hall in Anmer, Norfolk on the Queen's Sandringham estate for ten years.[2][3][5][6][16] They later moved into a neo-Palladian mansion designed by architect Francis Johnson in Hilborough, on their estate.[2][3][6]

A devout Roman Catholic, he built a chapel near his Hilborough residence for family occasions, with visiting priests.[2] However, he also regularly attended Mass at Our Lady of Pity in Swaffham with his family.[2] In 1993, he was appointed a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.[2][3]

He was a friend of Charles, Prince of Wales since university.[2][6] His son Edward, whose godfather was Prince Charles, was a pageboy at the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.[2][6] His granddaughters, Grace van Cutsem and Florence van Cutsem, were flower-girls at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011 and at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018, respectively.[6][7]


Van Cutsem died on 2 September 2013, aged 72.[1][3] His funeral took place in Brentwood Cathedral in Essex and was conducted by Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood.[6] Each of his four sons also gave a reading; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor read the prayer of commendation; the choir sang "Pie Jesu".[6] It was attended by the Prince of Wales; his sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry; and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; together with Andrew Parker Bowles; Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester; Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester; The Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein; Ralph Percy, 12th Duke of Northumberland; Gerald Grosvenor, 6th Duke of Westminster; Natalia Grosvenor, Duchess of Westminster; and Lady Tamara Grosvenor.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b c Gordon Cramb, Hugh van Cutsem, countryman, 1941-2013, The Financial Times, 6 September 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Hugh van Cutsem, The Daily Telegraph, 3 September 2013
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "The Peerage: Hugh Bernard Edward van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  4. ^ ‘van CUTSEM, Hugh Bernard Edward’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2016
  5. ^ a b c d e Martin Robinson, 'He's been hit very hard': Prince Charles is in mourning after his close friend Hugh Van Cutsem dies, The Daily Mail, 4 September 2013
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Martin Robinson, Sombre Prince Charles joined by William, Harry and Camilla at the funeral of his closest friend Hugh van Cutsem, The Daily Mail, 11 September 2013
  7. ^ a b c Josh Duboff, William and Harry Join Prince Charles at Funeral of His Closest Friend, Vanity Fair, 11 September 2013
  8. ^ "The Peerage: Edward Bernard Charles van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  9. ^ "The Peerage: Hugh Ralph van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  10. ^ "The Peerage: Nicholas Peter Geoffrey van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  11. ^ " "Meghan Markle bridesmaids: Benita Litt's daughters Remi and Rylan, Princess Charlotte, Florence van Cutsem and others announced as bridesmaids as Prince Harry's bride takes after Kate Middleton" Check |url= value (help). OK! Magazine. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  12. ^ "The Peerage: William Henry van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  13. ^ "Pigeon Management Team website". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  14. ^ Gordon Rayner, Prince George christening: profiles of the godparents, The Daily Telegraph, 23 October 2013
  15. ^ Catherine Ostler, Rebecca English, Meet the godparents: Kate and William's closest friends are chosen for key role as George's spiritual guardians, The Daily Mail, 24 October 2013.
  16. ^ Martin Robinson, One requires a conservatory! Wills and Kate set to join Middle Britain with glass-roofed extension at new Sandringham home as aides apply for planning permission, The Daily Mail, 1 October 2013