Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Australian Model and the Royal Scandal

Men stopped to stare at Patricia Tuckwell on the street because she was so beautiful. The young Melbourne girl was also very talented, joining the Sydney Symphony Orchestra when she was only 16. Her beauty and talent would lead her to a life very far from Australia.

Tuckwell left the orchestra to marry the photographer, Athol Shmith, in 1947 when she
was 21. She became a model and was nicknamed 'Bambi'. Tuckwell was also one of the founders of the Mannequins' Association of Victoria.

The couple had one son, Michael, but their marriage only lasted nine years. They were divorced in 1957. Tuckwell continued modelling, but she'd always wanted to go overseas. She set off on an expedition that would change her life forever.

The young woman arrived at the Milan airport only to find that her flight to Paris was cancelled by fog. While she waited for a bus transfer to Turin, she caught the eye of George Lascelles, the seventh Earl of Harewood, and a close relation of the Queen. He was married to Marion Stein and had three children.

The couple sat together on a flight to Paris and the Earl almost fell in love 'at first sight'. He was unable to forget the beautiful Australian, who was equally attracted to him. They were both very musical - the Earl worked for the opera, and 'Bambi' was a violinist.

The Earl of Harewood's Affair

The model and the earl soon began an affair. Harewood told his wife but she wanted to stay married and refused to grant him a divorce. The earl continued his affair discreetly, but he obtained a house for Schmith in London. The house was not far from his family's London house!

Surprisingly, the couple made a conscious decision to have a child together, after some years together. Their son, Mark, was born while the Earl was still married.

The Earl of Harewood Divorces

The scandal shocked the royal family, especially when the Earl's wife eventually decided to divorce him for adultery. He married his model in 1967 in America after they had had an eight-year affair. Schmith had found being the 'other woman' humiliating, so the couple was extremely pleased to be married at last.

The couple paid a high price for their indiscretion, however. They were not invited to Princess Anne's second wedding and the Earl was out of favour with the Queen. It wasn't until 1981 when the Queen attended the 50th anniversary of the English National Opera, that they knew that they were again considered part of the family.

The Earl told People magazine that it had all been worth it. "Infinitely", he answered. He did regret causing people pain and thought that a 'quick, sharp split' might have been better.

1 comment:

Kittie Howard said...

Beautifully done! I remember reading about the affair when Princess Anne married the second time. I'm glad it ended happily for them as the Duke of Windsor, when asked if he'd do it all over again, said, No.

And saw the previous post. Since you've posted I'm thinking you're feeling better. Hope so!!

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