Hugh van Cutsem

English landowner, banker, businessman and horse-breeder

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)
Parent(s)Bernard van Cutsem
Mary Compton
RelativesJonkheer Pieter Quarles van Ufford (father-in-law)

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

Early life

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, a descendant of the chiefly line of Clan Farquharson.[2][3] The van Cutsems were Roman Catholics of Belgian origin[4] who had moved to England in the nineteenth century.[2] He was educated at Sunningdale School and Ampleforth College,[5] a Roman Catholic boarding school in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, and graduated from the University of Cambridge.[2][3][6] He then served as an officer in the Life Guards.[2]

Business career

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

Land ownership

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] In 2001, the estate had thirty-five pairs of stone-curlews, a very rare bird.[2] In addition he owned a hunting lodge and grouse moor managed for shooting interest 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, whence he transferred his horse-breeding operations.[2] In 1994, he won a Country Landowners' Association award for his restoration of an old barn on the Hilborough estate; the Prince of Wales (now Charles III) presented the award.[2]

He was a founding member of the Countryside Movement, a non-profit organization which later became the Countryside Alliance, focussed on shooting.[2] He was also a significant fundraiser for the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, a British charity promoting game promoting game and wildlife management whilst working with the shooting and hunting community.[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

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] They had four sons:[2][3]

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

A devout Roman Catholic, he built a chapel near his Hilborough residence for family occasions, and arranged for priests to visit.[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]

From the Prince's university days Hugh van Cutsem was a friend of Charles III.[2] The King is godfather to his son Edward, who was a pageboy at the King's wedding to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.[2]


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. Each of his four sons also gave a reading; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor read the prayer of commendation; the choir sang "Pie Jesu". It was attended by the then Prince of Wales; his sons, the Prince William and Prince Harry; and his wife, Camilla, then-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]


  1. ^ a b c Gordon Cramb, Hugh van Cutsem, countryman, 1941-2013, 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. ^ COLIN, Eugène. (1924). La Famille van Cutsem. Fragment généalogique. [With plates, including portraits.]. BIbliothèque Nationale de France. OCLC 558096576.
  5. ^ ‘van CUTSEM, Hugh Bernard Edward’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2016
  6. ^ a b Josh Duboff, William and Harry Join Prince Charles at Funeral of His Closest Friend, Vanity Fair, 11 September 2013
  7. ^ Foster, Peter. "Has the puppet-master of St James's finally pulled one string too many?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  8. ^ Stephens, Felix, ed. (Spring 1996). "1995 Graduates". The Ampleforth Journal. 101 (1): 124.
  9. ^ "The Peerage: Edward Bernard Charles van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  10. ^ "The Peerage: Hugh Ralph van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  11. ^ "The Peerage: Nicholas Peter Geoffrey van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  12. ^ "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". OK!. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  13. ^ "The Peerage: William Henry van Cutsem". Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  14. ^ "Pigeon Management Team website". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  15. ^ Gordon Rayner, Prince George christening: profiles of the godparents, The Daily Telegraph, 23 October 2013