Monday, January 09, 2006

Royal Profile: George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood

The Rt. Honourable Sir George Henry Hubert Lascelles, KBE, 7th Earl of Harewood, Viscount Lascelles and Baron Harewood was born on February 7, 1923 at Harewood House, the family manor in Yorkshire. He was the first son of Henry, the 6th Earl of Harewood and Princess Mary, later the Princess Royal. He was the first grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary and is a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. Until he succeeded to the title of Earl of Harewood in 1947, he was known by the courtesy title of Viscount Lascelles. He has a younger brother, Gerald (1924-1998).

He was educated at Eton and King's College, Cambridge and later commissioned into the Grenadier Guards, attaining the rank of Captain. During World War II he fought in Italy, was wounded and captured by the Germans and imprisioned in Colditz from 1944 to May 1945. After the war, in 1945-6 he served as 'aide de-camp' to the governor-general of Canada at the time, the Earl of Athlone (husband of Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone). During the monarch's absence abroad, he was appointed a Counsellor of State in 1947; the first person without a royal title to do so. He was appointed again during Queen Elizabeth's major post Coronation Commonwealth tour in 1953-54.

In 1949 he married Marion Stein, and the couple had three sons: David, the current Viscount Lascelles (b 1950), James (b 1953), and Jeremy (b 1955). The marriage was dissolved in 1966; making the earl the first member of the immediate family to divorce. Two years prior to this, he had a son, Mark Lascelles (b 1964) by Patricia Tuckwell, whom he married in 1967. Marion Stein later went on to marry politician Jeremy Thorpe, who caused a scandal in 1976 when he was accused of having a homosexual relationship with another man.

He has devoted most of his career to the opera, for which he is a recognized expert and has written major books on the subject. He was editor of Opera Magazine and worked for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Director. He has been Chairman of the Board of the English Opera, Artistic Director of the Leeds Festival and the Edinburgh International Festival. Artistic Adviser to the New Philharmonica Orchestra and Managing Director of the English National Opera North. In 1985 he retired to devote more time to running Harewood House.

The Queen created him a Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1986. He received the Australian Order of Merit in 1959. His memoirs, The Tongs and the Bones, was published in 1981.

Update: The Earl of Harewood died on July 11th, 2011. He is survived by his wife Patricia and his four sons.

© Marilyn Braun 2006

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