Maria Donata Nanetta Paulina Gustava Erwina Wilhelmine Stein, CBE (18 October 1926 – 6 March 2014), known as Marion Stein, and subsequently by marriage as Marion Lascelles, Countess of Harewood, and later Marion Thorpe, was an Austrian-born British concert pianist.
Maria Donata Nanetta Paulina Gustava Erwina Wilhelmine Stein
18 October 1926
|Died||6 March 2014 (aged 87)|
North Devon, United Kingdom
|Other names||Marion Harewood |
Born in Vienna, Stein was of Jewish heritage, the daughter of Sophie Bachmann and musician Erwin Stein. She came to the UK just before the Second World War. She attended the Royal College of Music and became good friends with composer Benjamin Britten. By 1949, as Countess of Harewood, and with the patronage of her mother-in-law, Princess Mary, Stein was chatelaine of the Palladian Harewood House, north of Leeds, and threw herself into organising events.
In March 1950, she created an opera-inspired fancy dress ball in aid of Britten's English Opera Group, featuring Frederick Ashton and Moira Shearer dancing the tango from the ballet Façade. In September 1950, she was reported as being pregnant and "planning to attend every night" of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival which featured a performance by Britten. She was the joint founder in 1961 (along with Fanny Waterman) of the Leeds International Piano Competition. She also collaborated with Fanny Waterman on Piano Lessons, a successful piano tutor.
Stein married twice, on both occasions to prominent public figures.
Her first husband was George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood, whom she married on 29 September 1949. The couple met at the Aldeburgh Festival. Lord Harewood, son of Mary, Princess Royal, was the grandson of King George V, the nephew of kings Edward VIII and George VI, and a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. Marion gained the title Countess of Harewood. They had three sons:
- David Lascelles, 8th Earl of Harewood (born 21 October 1950)
- James Lascelles (born 5 October 1953)
- Jeremy Lascelles (born 14 February 1955)
By 1959, there were serious problems in the marriage. Harewood began an affair with the violinist Patricia Tuckwell, but Stein rejected the idea of divorce until 1967, by which time Harewood had a son by Tuckwell. His adultery and remarriage made him a social outcast for several years, and it was 10 years before he was invited to any events by the Royal Family.
Stein married her second husband, Jeremy Thorpe, on 14 March 1973. Thorpe was then a Member of Parliament and Leader of the Liberal Party. His first wife, Caroline, had been killed in a car accident in 1970. Stein stood by Thorpe throughout the scandal of the late 1970s. In the mid-1980s, Thorpe was diagnosed as suffering from Parkinson's disease. Towards the end of her life, she also had mobility problems.
- John Amis (7 March 2014). "Marion Thorpe obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 March 2014.
- Reed, Philip; Cooke, Mervyn (2010). Letters from a Life: the Selected Letters of Benjamin Britten, 1913–1976; Vol 5. Boydell Press. p. xlv. ISBN 1-84383-591-6.
- "Obituary: The Earl of Harewood", The Telegraph, 11 July 2011. Accessed 16 February 2013.
- "Marion Thorpe – Obituary". The Telegraph. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- Peter, NDJ (9 March 2014), "Marion Thorpe, wife of former North Devon MP and Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe, dies at age 87", North Devon Journal (Barnstaple), archived from the original on 9 March 2014 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Hoping for a Boy". Barrier Miner, Broken Hill. 6 September 1950. Retrieved 20 September 2015 – via Trove.
...the Countess plans to attend every night of the Leeds Triennial Musical Festival...
- "Discovering Leeds". Leeds City Council UK Gov. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
Britten had been taking the final rehearsals of his Spring Symphony which he was due to conduct at the 1950 Triennial Festival...
- Cummings, David (2000). International Who's Who in Music: and Musicians' Directory Vol. 1. Routledge. p. 640. ISBN 0-948875-53-4.
- BBC – Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, 29 December 1973.
- "Adultery, a child, divorce, remarriage = estrangement from the Royal Family", Royal Musings, 12 July 2011. Accessed 16 February 2013.
- Leo McKinstry, "The downfall of Jeremy Thorpe", Express, 8 May 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Jeremy Thorpe – Former Liberal Party Leader in the UK", BBC News.
- "The Funeral of the Right Honourable Jeremy Thorpe". Westminster Abbey. Archived from the original on 7 July 2015. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
- "Marion (née Stein), Countess of Harewood, later Mrs Jeremy Thorpe". National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved 21 June 2011.