George Henry Hubert Lascelles was the first grandchild for King George V and Queen Mary. At the time of his birth, George was styled as the Honourable George Lascelles, as his father, Viscount Lascelles, was heir apparent to the Earl of Harewood. George's mother was Princess Mary, the King's only daughter.
George was born at Chesterfield House, where "South Audley Street runs into into Curzon Street," but Goldsborough Hall in Yorkshire was the primary home during the 1920s. The family spent summers in London, and a month in Newmarket for the racing.
Goldsborough Hall, near Knaresborough, was "on the edge of the Harewood estate." It was the home for the eldest son of the Earl, who lived at Harewood House, twelve miles away.
George and his younger brother, Gerald, who was eighteen months younger, attended many of the royal events during the 1920s and 1930s. They were present for the Trooping the Colour, they sat in the Royal Box, they took in official events such as George V's Silver Jubilee celebrations. Every September, Queen Mary came to Harewood to spend time with the family. George and Gerald were always on their best behavior as Mary's visit was considered a formal event.
George's father succeeded to the earldom in 1929. George was now styled as Viscount Lascelles, and he and his family moved into Harewood House. His mother became the chatelaine of a magnificent estate in the north of England, becoming the princess of the north. Princess Mary was a very shy woman, a bit diffident, and she preferred her Yorkshire home to the London court scene. The princess, who became the Princess Royal in 1931, was never one of the stars of the royal family.
Before the second world war, the family "went regularly to parties at Buckingham Palace." Easter was spent at Windsor, and after their own Christmas holidays at Harewood, the family traveled to Sandringham in January to be with the Royal Family. There were also "high days and holidays at Buckingham Palace," which were rather formal.
George, Gerald and their cousin, Sandy Ramsay, the son of Princess Patricia of Connaught (Lady Patricia Ramsay, who was George's godmother) were at the age when they served as pages during formal events. It was the death of their grandfather, George V, and the abdication of their uncle, Edward VIII, that changed the balance of the royal family, and the Lascelles' roles within the family.
George, then 13, remembered having a "hang-dog" expression at the proclamation of King George VI. This was because "of the sadness attending the departure of his brother, not a lack of enthusiasm for the new King."
Lord Harewood and the Princess Royal were the first members of the Royal Family to visit the Duke of Windsor in exile in Vienna in February 1937. It was not until 1952, when Mary came to Paris to pick up her brother to bring him to London to see the dying Queen Mary that Mary finally met David's wife.
In his memoirs, The Tongs and Bones, Lord Harewood noted that the Duke of Windsor "came every so often" to London to see Queen Mary at Marlborough House. Princess Mary was also usually present for these visits. The late Princess Royal remained close to her older brother, and she did not have the same relationship with her other brothers, including King George VI and his wife, Queen Elizabeth.
George and Gerald would see their cousins, Princesses Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, during the summer visits to London, but it seems unlikely that the Duchess of York and the Princess Royal arranged for play dates at 145 Piccadilly or Chesterfield House. The two families led very separate lives.
Lord Harewood's other maternal cousins, the children of the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester, are much younger. The eldest of this group is the Duke of Kent, who is 12 years younger than Lord Harewood. The Duke of Gloucester is 21 years younger.
It was the Duke of Windsor who once said of his nephew: "It's very odd about George and music, his parents were quite normal -- liked horses, dogs and the country." The Duke of Windsor made the comment to Topazia Markevich, the wife of the conductor Igor. The comment was made at the time when Lord Harewood was head of the opera at Covent Garden.
Lord Harewood's interest in music, especially opera, first manifested itself when he was a child. His passion for music came from somewhere, but certainly not from his parents. He was "very fond of his father," but slightly "in awe of him." The 6th Earl "was a good judge of people, and somebody who was amusing and who took pains at the same time to make serious things palatable." Although George's father had a "wide range of interests, very much a countryman, who rode and shot well and loved all aspects of country life." He could be "good company," but he was not "really wrapped up in children."
Neither of Lord Harewood's parents "showed emotion easily." As a young boy, George would cling to his mother, although his "declarations of affections" were regarded by Mary as "slightly embarrassing and something I would grown out of," the earl wrote in his memoirs. The family never talked of "love and affection," but rather of "duty and behaviour, and what we ought to do, which did not encourage spontaneity or a confident, out-going point of view."
Lord Harewood wrote that his "parents got on well together and had a lot of friends and interests in common." He disputed the view that Mary and Henry had a difficult marriage. "Our mother was never so happy in our eyes as children as when she and my father were embarked on some scheme together."
In later years, George and Gerald noticed that their mother "found it hard to cope" after the death of her husband in 1947. George described his mother as gentle and kind, "with in later life a little Hanoverian spleen underneath." She was "conditioned to communicate only on an uncontroversial a level as possible." Princess Mary was brought up to discourage "direct discussion or any display of emotion."
After celebrating his 19th birthday in 1942, Lord Lascelles joined his father's regiment, the Grenadier Guards. He served in North Africa and Italy. In 1944, he was taken prisoner by the Germans, and was transferred to several prison camps, until November 1944, when he was moved to Colditz. One of Queen Elizabeth's nephews, John Elphinstone, was also held at Colditz. Liberation came at the end of the war.
George returned to Harewood to recover. He also spent a lot of time London seeing plays and operas, and increasing his knowledge of music. He returned to the Grenadier Guards, and served for a time in Canada, where his uncle, the Earl of Athlone, was the Governor General. It was in Canada where he fell in love for the first time, with a diplomat's daughter, Francoise. It was not easy to leave Francoise and return to England in the summer of 1946, but "she was a Roman Catholic, and I did not believe that hurdle could be got over."
There would be other hurdles, however, for the young Viscount. He served several times a Councillor of State during King George VI's absence on a Commonwealth visit, sharing duties with his uncle, the Duke of Gloucester.
George's father died on May 23, 1947. He was now the earl, the owner of Harewood House, but he was not sure if the estate would remain intact. The tax rate -- death duties -- on the estate was seventy percent. Harewood House had been turned over for use as a military hospital in 1940, and was vacated in 1947. Not only did the new earl have to return the house to normal, he was also faced with crippling death duties that nearly destroyed the estate. There were also taxes to be paid on the Goldsborough mansion and property. Three years after the earl's death, George sold "some two-thirds of the land and the chattel." Artworks were also sold. In the early 1950s, Goldsborough Hall was also sold.
In the summer of 1948, the new Lord Harewood traveled to Salzburg, Austria, for his first foreign music festival. It was in Salzburg, where George met his first wife, Marion Stein, but the real introduction came not long afterward at the Aldeburgh Festival, where the composer Benjamin Britten formally introduced Lord Harewood to Miss Marion Stein. They kept in contact, and dated for several times "before and after Christmas" in 1948.
The Austrian-born Stein was also a gifted musician with strong ties to opera and classical music. Early in 1949, George returned to Harewood, where, during a walk with his mother, he said: "This may surprise you, but I want to get married." Princess Mary responded with "Good God," and then continued to walk in silence. But soon the conversation returned, and "she seemed to find the idea less peculiar than she had at first, and eventually said she'd like to meet Marion."
The first visit took place two weeks later. It was an "ordeal" for Marion, but Mary "seemed to take to her," and the only question she asked was if Marion could cook? The Princess Royal offered to write to King George VI on her son's behalf to request permission for the marriage, as required by the Royal Marriages Act." Lord Harewood also went to see the King "who seemed to think it was quite natural" that his nephew "would want to marry someone with similar interests, even if they were so exotic as to extend to music."
But King George VI refused to give permission until the marriage was sanctioned by Queen Mary. Lord Harewood did not know that his grandmother was "vigorously opposed to the whole idea." He was "advised to wait." In July, he met with Queen Mary. Lord Harewood had been told by other family members that her "initially hostile reaction had made everybody, including the King, too frightened to ask her again." Lord Harewood explained his position to his grandmother. There were no further obstacles. The next day, King George VI gave his official permission. Marion's father, Erwin Stein, was Jewish.
The wedding was set for September 29, 1949 at St. Mark's Church, South Audley Street, where Lord Harewood and his family had worshipped often before the war.
After the honeymoon, the Earl and Countess of Harewood lived briefly in his parents' rooms at St. James's Palace. The Earl acquired a large home, 2 Orme Square, which became the couple's London residence. At Harewood House, Marion became the chatelaine, which was difficult for the Princess Royal to accept. One of Lord Harewood's aunt's persuaded Princess Mary to relinquish her downstairs rooms and move into the largest of the guest bedrooms upstairs. Lord Harewood continued to acquire more duties and responsibilities in the musical world, and shared many public duties with his mother, who increased her public duties, largely based in Yorkshire, after her husband's death.
Lady Harewood never felt at home at Harewood House, according to her former husband. She was more of a city girl, born in Vienna, but came to London as a child before the war. She felt that Harewood House was more the Princess Royal's house than hers or her husband's. She was reluctant to spend a lot of time at Harewood. This was largely due to the presence of the Princess Royal, who was Marion's only example "for living in the country in a big house." It was the Princess Royal who saw the cook, "ordered the food, but she had a lady-in-waiting, and assumed that others did, as they had always done, the household chores." She lived a life "that was essentially not essentially different from before the war." Thus, the new Countess "learned little about life as it would be lived, only as it had been in certain circles in the past."
Marion gave birth to the couple's first son, David, in October 1950. James was born in 1953, and Jeremy arrived sixteen months later in 1956.
The marriage was over by 1959, but this was not known publicly. The British tabloid press was nowhere as zealous as it is now, and the Harewoods' marriage remained under the radar until after the Princess Royal's death in 1965.
Lord Harewood was sitting in the Air France terminal in Milan, in January 1959, waiting for a flight, when he struck up a conversation with the only other person in the room, a young woman, Patricia Tuckwell, an Australian violinist on her first trip to Europe. She was the sister of Barry Tuckwell, a then up and coming musician. When they arrived in Paris, Lord Harewood took her out to dinner.
He also told his wife about his "chance meeting" with Barry Tuckwell's sister. Patricia joined Lord and Lady Harewood several times to attend the opera or plays. Lord Harewood was photographed with Patricia, dancing at the annual Opera Ball, wearing a dress that Marion had lent her.
They saw each other several times in London, and Lord Harewood realized that his feelings were "too strong to conceal any longer." He was obliged to tell his wife about how he now felt.
It was a very "difficult period" for the three. Marion was convinced that Patricia would become bored, and would return to Australia. Lord Harewood acknowledged he was "deeply in love," and he believed Patricia felt the same.
Although he was happy about being in love, Lord Harewood acknowledged in his memoirs that he felt concern about the deception. Marion knew how he felt, but she didn't know that the affair had escalated.
Patricia did return to Australia. This was difficult for Lord Harewood who saw Patricia "as my greatest hope of happiness." The separation was meant to be final, as Lord and Lady Harewood tried to pick up the pieces of their own shattered relationship. Patricia sent a devastating letter to George, writing him that it would be a folly to return to England. He wanted to throw himself in front of a bus, but decided on the "more practical realization" that he could telephone her from a call box in the local Post Office. He poured out his feelings over the phone and in a subsequent letter that led to Patricia to resolve her business issues in Australia, and return to live in England.
Lord Harewood was now convinced that his future was with Patricia and not Marion. He knew his decision would be painful for Marion, and for their three children. He felt that Marion did not take his conversations with her seriously, even refusing to believe "that Patricia would return to England."
The truth was that Marion and George had been drifting apart for some time. He buried himself in his music, thus avoiding communication. Marion had no one to guide her or help her with the running of two homes. It was only after Patricia's return to England that Lord Harewood asked for a divorce.
Marion refused, and continued to deny a divorce for several years. Lord Harewood was determined to begin a new life with Patricia, and they even talked about starting a family. Patricia was already 38 (she had a son when she was 22 by her first husband), when they made the decision to have a child, even out of wedlock.
Mark was born in July 1964, again without the press finding out. He was originally registered under his mother's maiden name, Tuckwell.
Princess Mary learned about her grandson's birth shortly before her death in March 1965.
Marion finally agreed to a divorce. The case was set for January 1967. It was also now public knowledge that the Earl of Harewood, the elder son of the the Princess Royal, was living openly with a woman who was not his wife, but was the mother of his youngest son. For its time, the Harewood divorce was a great scandal for the British royal house. Several months after the petition was filed, Marion allowed their three sons to meet Mark for the first time.
The divorce was granted in July 1967. Lord Harewood sought permission to marry, which was seen to be an embarrassing situation for the Queen, his first cousin. She sought advice from several quarters, including Prime Minister Wilson, and consent was given. As Lord Harewood was unable to marry in a registry office in England or Wales, he and Patricia flew to the United States where they were married in a civil ceremony in Connecticut.
Lord Harewood and his new Countess returned to Harewood, where Mark joined them a few weeks later, to begin their lives.
Lord Harewood's adultery and remarriage would have immediate consequences. Although he played no active role within the Royal Family, he was the elder son of the Princess Royal, an earl with a prominent role in classical music, but he became a pariah in royal circles. The doors shut quickly, and remained shut for many years.
He was not invited to the Duke of Windsor's funeral in 1972 (this really bothered him) nor Princess Anne's first wedding in 1973. A small rapprochement was made in 1977, when he and Lady Harewood were invited to a local dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977. It was the first time that the Earl's second wife was presented to the Queen.
Everything changed in 1981, when the Harewoods' received an invitation to the wedding of the Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer. After Princess Margaret's divorce, it became difficult to continue shunning the Earl of Harewood. Lord and Lady Harewood were included in other formal events, and also welcomed the Queen and the Prince of Wales, on separate occasions to Harewood House.
Lord Harewood did attend the memorial service at Westminster Abbey in February of this year for the late Dame Joan Sutherland, he and Lady Harewood but were not present for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It is not known if they declined their invitation or if they even received an invitation. I suspect the former.
In June, however, the Earl of Harewood did attend the Duke of Edinburgh's 90th birthday service at St. George's Chapel.
The late earl's biography, The Tongs and Bones, which was published in Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1981, is short on personal details, especially about his mother and his relationship with other members of the royal family, and long and hard on music and opera.
It is worth noting that George's younger brother, Gerald, married Angela Dowding in 1952. They had one son, Henry, who was born in 1953. This marriage, too, failed, as Gerald fell in love with Elizabeth Collingwood. She gave birth to his son, Martin, in 1962, but the public did not know about this until 1978, when Angela and Gerald were divorced, and Gerald and Elizabeth were married in Vienna. Angela, who was five years older than her husband, remains close to members of the Royal Family, especially Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The Princess Royal never knew about Gerald's second family -- his son was born two years before Mark.