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.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Post Soon

I've been a bit ill for a while. I had the dreaded migraine. Now I have a cold and a sore foot.

However, I hope to write a new post soon!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Diva and the Duke

When the famous Australian opera singer was visiting New York on one occasion, she was invited to lunch with the singer, Yvette Giblert. She sneered at the idea, saying that Gilbert might be invited to sing one of her couplets during dessert for a fee.
Gilbert replied that she understood. "I am only of humble birth", she said, "but Madame Melba is, of course, a member of the French royal family!"

This l'esprit d'escalier referred to Nellie Melba's long-ago affair with Louis-Phillipe d'Orleans, the son of the Pretender to the French throne. The lovers met in 1890. Melba and the Duc were mad about each other, even though there were many obstacles in their path. The Duc was ten years younger than the 31-year old Melba and engaged to a European aristocrat. Melba was married, but separated from her wild aristocratic husband, Charlie Armstrong. She also had a young son. The Duke was Catholic and Melba was Protestant. Even if Melba divorced, it would be impossible for them to marry.

The lovers rode through the Vienna woods and waltzed to Strauss music. The Duke had followed her to St. Petersburg, Brussels and London where they were glimpsed sharing a box at the Opera. Unfortunately, Melba's teacher's daughter, Blanche, hated her and told a journalist about the affair. The scandal broke and created an uproar. Charlie threatened to sue for divorce and Melba was told that as a divorced woman she would be banned from singing at Covent Garden. Luckily, Charlie was eventually calmed down somehow, and he obtained a quiet divorce from Texas years later.

The Duke went on safari to Africa for a few years after he and Melba separated. He eventually married an Austrian Arch-Duchess, but the marriage was unhappy. He and Melba stayed in contact during the rest of their lives. Although Melba had a few lovers, perhaps including the artist, Rupert Bunny. The Duke was the great love of her life.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Posts

I've been very busy this week, but I hope to write new posts next week!
Custom Search