TRIBUTES have been paid to the Dowager Countess of Harewood, Patricia Lascelles, who has died at the age of 91.
Lady Harewood, the widow of the 7th Earl of Harewood, George Lascelles, died on Friday at Harewood House after a long illness. The Australian-born former violinist and fashion model had lived at the grand estate near Leeds for half a century and had introduced its popular bird garden.
In a statement, her stepson, the Earl of Harewood, David Lascelles, said: “I am very sad to announce the death of my stepmother Patricia, who died peacefully after a long illness on 4th May, 2018.
“She was at her home, Harewood House, where she had lived during her long marriage to my father and where, since his death in 2011, she has continued to live, in a house that they both loved. My thoughts are especially with her sons Michael Shmith and Mark Lascelles, with her brother Barry Tuckwell and with her wider family both here in the UK and in Australia, where she was born and lived the first part of her life.”
Lady Harewood was a long-time supporter of Leeds United Football Club and last year became its honorary president, a title her husband had held for 50 years until his death in 2011.
Club owner, Andrea Radrizzani, was one of the first to pay tribute yesterday, saying: “Lady Harewood was a wonderful person who will be sorely missed by everyone at LUFC.”
Former Leeds United player and Scottish international Dominic Matteo also paid tribute, saying Lady Harewood was “a great lady I was lucky enough to spend time with”.
Born Patricia Tuckwell, Lady Harewood grew up in a family of musicians in Australia and later became a violinist with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. In her modelling days she went by the name of Bambi and she made regular television appearances.
Her first marriage was to fashion photographer Athol Shmith. They had one son, Michael, before divorcing in 1957.
In 1959, she met the Earl, a first cousin to The Queen who at the time was married to his first wife, Marion Stern.
News in 1967 that the Earl was to divorce and remarry a divorcee caused a major Royal scandal, as did the revelation that the couple already had a young son together, Mark, born in 1964.
The Queen had to sanction the marriage, with the new Countess only making Harewood House her home until after the wedding in the United States.
Lord and Lady Harewood shared a passion for music during their long marriage, as well as a keen interest in Leeds United and the duty of managing Harewood House and its extensive grounds.
Perhaps the Dowager Countess’ biggest contribution to the estate was the creation of the bird garden, shortly after her arrival.
The family had needed an attraction away from the house to prevent the interior from being worn out by the constant flow of visitors.
It began as a visitor attraction but later developed into a centre for the re-establishment of rare breeds and bird conservation.
Lady Harewood retained a love for her country of birth and each year, the couple would return to Australia for two months, staying in an apartment in Adelaide.
Following her husband’s death, in 2011, the title passed to his son, Lord David Lascelles, who had already taken over the running of Harewood House with the aid of a trust.
Lady Harewood’s funeral will be held at Harewood House, with details to be confirmed, her family said.