Prince Charles's Best Friend, Hugh van Cutsem, Dies

Hugh Van Cutsem passes away after long illness

09.04.13 11:04 AM ET

One of Prince Charles's best friends, Hugh van Cutsem died yesterday at the age of 72 after a long illness.

“It has hit the Prince very hard,” a friend of the Norfolk landowner tells the Daily Telegraph's Tim Walker. “He had been ill for some time, but it still came as a shock.”

The van Cutsem's have been intimately involved in royal life for  many years. Hugh Van Cutsem and Prince Charles attended Cambridge University together in the Sixties, his son, Edward, was a pageboy when Charles married Diana in 1981 and his grandddaughter, Grace, was a bridesmaid at the William and Kate's wedding in 2011. She was the one who put her hands over her ears to drown out the noise of the crowd on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

The former officer in the Household Cavalry also once occupied Anmer Hall, on The Queen’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, which will now become a home to William and Kate.

Van Cutsem was a good friend of Prince Charles when he was at Cambridge, becoming a ‘regular holiday and shooting companion’, according to the Telegraph. He also shared the Prince’s passions for rural life, field sports and conservation.