THE Royal family arrived at Brentwood Cathedral this morning to pay their respects to one of Prince Charles’ closest friends Hugh van Cutsem.

Prince Charles, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and Prince Harry attended the funeral this morning.

Conservationist and horse-breeder Mr van Cutsem, died at his home last Monday aged 72.

He and Charles had been friends since their days as students at Cambridge. He saw Prince William and Harry through Prince Charles and Diana’s divorce, looking after the brothers at his family home in Norfolk when their marriage collapsed.

Mr van Cutsem and his wife Emilie van Ufford's son Edward is Charles's godson and when the Prince married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 the then eight-year-old was chosen as one of two page boys.

Thirty years after Charles's wedding, Mr van Cutsem's granddaughter Grace was the flower girl pictured covering her ears as William and Kate kissed after their wedding on the balcony of Buckingham Place.

And it is believed one of Mr van Cutsem's four sons will be asked to be godfather to William's baby Prince George.

Described as "one of the finest shots of his generation", Mr van Cutsem was born on July 21 1941 and schooled at Sunningdale and Ampleforth.

The son of champion horse trainer Bernard van Cutsem, who trained horses for the Queen, he preferred to stick to breeding.

His 4,400-acre estate on Norfolk's Brecklands became renowned for its private wild game shoots, and he also owned a hunting lodge and grouse moor on the North Yorkshire-Cumbria border.