As a trooper and then an officer in the Royal Armoured Corps (Queen's Own Yeomanry), Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve, the Duke was very much engaged in the work of RUSI. In particular, while serving as Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Reserves and Cadets), the Duke, then a Major General, worked closely with RUSI on the evolution of the UK’s Reserve Forces, a subject of critical importance to Britain’s future force structure. Our meetings with the Duke were most helpful for developing fresh thinking on this important subject.
The Duke supported the creation of a Duke of Westminster Fellowship at RUSI to conduct research on military strategic, operational, and tactical issues, all of which are fundamental to the purpose of RUSI as an independent research institute. This post has evolved into that of Research Fellow for Land Warfare, which is currently held by Peter Quentin.
He also founded the Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature in 1997, which is awarded annually by RUSI to an author who makes a notable and original contribution to the study of international and national security and defence. The winner for 2016 will be announced at the annual award ceremony this Autumn. Our Library of Military History in the Institute’s Building at 61 Whitehall is dedicated to the Duke of Westminster.
On hearing of the Duke’s passing, the Chairman of RUSI, Lord Hague of Richmond PC FRSL, said: ’At RUSI we pay tribute to the Duke of Westminster's long and distinguished military career, and his lifelong interest in defence and security. Many of us have fond memories of meeting him, and we have all been sad to hear of his untimely death.’
The Vice-Chairman of RUSI, Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE, said: ‘In recent years I came to know the Duke of Westminster through involvement in one of his major military charities. I was immediately impressed by his deep commitment to the welfare of our armed forces and our veterans. He worked exceptionally hard and with great generosity to support these causes whilst remaining modest and approachable. His sudden loss is very sad news.’
The Director-General of RUSI, Dr Karin von Hippel, said: ‘I had the privilege of meeting the Duke in early June, it was obvious that he felt genuine concern for the welfare of British soldiers, not just through his support of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at the Stanford Hall Estate, but also in terms of his forward-leaning views on the utility of military force and how to ensure the safety of soldiers on the battlefield.’
RUSI’s present Research Fellow for Land Warfare, Peter Quentin, said that ‘the Duke of Westminster, as Major General Grosvenor, embodied the notion of “twice a citizen” – he was passionate about defence and committed to its advancement through his thoughts, words and deeds. The Duke’s decades of uniformed service, as both an enlisted then commissioned reservist, are now accompanied by a legacy of support for the welfare and rehabilitation of future generations, together ensuring his virtues, not pedigree, prove the mark of his nobility.’