Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood

Henry George Charles Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood (9 September 1882 – 24 May 1947) was a British soldier and peer. He was the husband of Mary, Princess Royal, and thus a son-in-law of King George V and Queen Mary and a brother-in-law to kings Edward VIII and George VI.

The Right Honourable
The Earl of Harewood
Henry Lascelles, Earl of Harewood.jpg
Born(1882-09-09)9 September 1882
43 Belgrave Square, London, England
Died24 May 1947(1947-05-24) (aged 64)
Harewood House, Yorkshire
Buried27 May 1947
All Saints Church, Harewood, Yorkshire
(m. 1922)
FatherHenry Lascelles, 5th Earl of Harewood
MotherLady Florence Bridgeman

Early life and marriageEdit

Wedding portrait of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles, 1922

Lascelles was the son of Henry Lascelles, 5th Earl of Harewood, and Lady Florence Bridgeman, daughter of Orlando Bridgeman, 3rd Earl of Bradford. He was born at the London home of his maternal grandfather, 43 Belgrave Square.[1] In 1916, the vast fortune of his great uncle, the 2nd Marquess of Clanricarde, devolved upon Lascelles.[2]

Lord Harewood married Princess Mary, only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary, at Westminster Abbey, on 28 February 1922. His best man was Sir Victor Mackenzie, 3rd Baronet.[3]

After their marriage, Lord and Lady Harewood split their time between their homes; Chesterfield House in London, and Goldsborough Hall, part of the Harewood Estate and Harewood House itself, in Yorkshire, which became their family home in 1930, after the death of his father in October 1929. They had two children:

Their elder son, the 7th Earl of Harewood, wrote about his parents' marriage in his memoirs The Tongs and the Bones and describes their relationship, saying that "they got on well together and had a lot of friends and interests in common". He also noted that "Shy, aloof and worse, I have heard my father called since; but that was not how his friends knew him [or] how his family felt about him; and I knew then, and know still, that when I was 24 I lost potentially the best friend and mentor I could ever have – at precisely the moment I discovered this was so".[4]

Military careerEdit

After education at Eton College, Lascelles attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst[1] before being commissioned as a second lieutenant into the Grenadier Guards on 12 February 1902,[5] serving until 1905.[6] He was an honorary attache at the British embassy in Paris from 1905 until 1907, then served as aide-de-camp to the governor general of Canada, Earl Grey, until 1911.[1]

In 1913 he joined the Territorial Army as second lieutenant in the Yorkshire Hussars yeomanry. He was promoted lieutenant on the Reserve of officers in 1914.[6] He continued with the yeomanry after the outbreak of the First World War until he rejoined the Grenadier Guards for service on the Western Front in April 1915.[1] Even so, he continued to be promoted within the regiment to captain in 1917.[7] Postwar he was promoted major in 1920 and retired in 1924.[8]

Meanwhile, at the front, he was wounded in the head at the Second Battle of Givenchy but recovered to fight in the Battle of Loos in 1915, and was wounded a further two times as well as gassed.[1] He was promoted captain and later major in command of a battalion (the 3rd) in 1915,[6] and lieutenant-colonel in 1918.[7] He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and a bar both in 1918, as well as the French Croix de Guerre.[8]

He continued his interest in the Territorial movement after the war, as honorary colonel of the 1st Battalion The London Regiment from 1923, the 5th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment from 1937, and as president of the West Yorkshire Territorial Forces Association from 1928. He was also appointed in 1937 honorary air commodore of the 609 (West Riding) Bomber Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force.[9]

Other interestsEdit

After the war, Lascelles remained interested in local Yorkshire issues and events, often contributing to the Leeds Board of Management. He was president of the Yorkshire Rural Community Council.[10][11] He was Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire from 1927 until his death.[1]

He was president of the Royal Agricultural Society of England in 1929 when that year's Royal Show was held at Harrogate.[1]

Interested in equestrian sports, he served as Master of the Bramham Moor Hounds from 1921,[8] was a steward of the Jockey Club, and co-editor of Flat Racing (1940) for the London Library.[1]

Lord Harewood, a Freemason, served as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England from 1942 to 1947.[12]

Political careerEdit

As Viscount Lascelles, he attempted to enter the House of Commons in 1913. He stood as the Unionist candidate in the 1913 Keighley by-election. (The Liberal incumbent, Sir Stanley Buckmaster, had been appointed Solicitor General.) In the three-cornered fight that also included a Labour candidate, he came second to Buckmaster by 878 votes.

He did not seek election again, and his defeat led to a later distaste for politics. He declared in later life "every war in which Britain had been involved had been due to the inefficiency of politicians, and they began what soldiers had to end".[1]

On succeeding to his father's earldom, he became a member of the House of Lords.

Death and legacyEdit

Lord Harewood died of a heart attack on 24 May 1947 at the age of 64 at his home, Harewood House. He is buried in the Lascelles family vault at All Saints' Church, Harewood. Lady Harewood, the Princess Royal, survived him by almost eighteen years and died in 1965.

It is widely understood that Virginia Woolf based the character of Archduke Henry on him in her novel Orlando, a tribute to her lover Vita Sackville-West. Henry Lascelles was one of West's suitors.[13] In the 2019 film Downton Abbey, Viscount Lascelles is played by Andrew Havill.

Honours and armsEdit

Coat of arms of Henry, 6th Earl of Harewood

British honours:

Foreign honours:



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 32. Oxford University Press. 2004. p. 592. ISBN 0-19-861382-2. Article by H.E. Wortham, revised by K.D. Reynolds.
  2. ^ "The Royal Wedding: Princess Mary married to Viscount Lascelles at Westminster Abbey". The Barrier Miner. 1 March 1922. Retrieved 15 April 2023 – via Trove.
  3. ^ "The Wedding of 6th Earl of Harewood and Princess Mary". National Portrait Gallery, London. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  4. ^ Vickers, Hugo (17 September 2019). "Factchecking Downton Abbey: What the film got wrong about the Royals". The Telegraph. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
  5. ^ "No. 27405". The London Gazette. 11 February 1902. p. 846.
  6. ^ a b c Kelly's Handbook to the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1918. Kelly's. p. 928.
  7. ^ a b Kelly's Handbook, 1920. Kelly's. p. 976.
  8. ^ a b c d Kelly's Handbook, 1929. Kelly's. p. 814. Entry under Viscount Lascelles (published before succession to earldom same year).
  9. ^ Kelly's Handbook, 1945. Kelly's. p. 895.
  10. ^ "Lord Harewood". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. West Yorkshire, England. 13 March 1943. Retrieved 25 September 2015. ... Lord Harewood, speaking on the report of the Board of Management, said was impressed the Increase last .. (Also, 28 March 1929...BOARD OF MANAGEMENT. Mr. Middleton re-elected ...(as) treasurer, and the following governors were appointed to form the Board Management in connection ...)
  11. ^ "Lord Harewood's Letter". Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. West Yorkshire, England. 12 April 1937. Retrieved 25 September 2015. Lord Harewood's Letter Lord Bolton then read a letter from Lord Harewood. president of the Yorkshire Rural Community Council...
  12. ^ "A Library and Museum of Freemasonry Information Leaflet: The Use of Standards and Banners in Freemasonry" (PDF). The Library and Museum of Freemasonry. November 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Orlando". sparknotes.com. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  14. ^ "No. 15359". The Edinburgh Gazette. 5 February 1937. p. 99.
  15. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 1949. Burke's Peerage Ltd. p. 948.
  16. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 1910. Burke's Peerage Ltd. p. 12.

External linksEdit

Honorary titles
Preceded by Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding of Yorkshire
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of Sheffield
Succeeded by
Masonic offices
Preceded by Grand Master of the
United Grand Lodge
of England

Succeeded by
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Earl of Harewood
Succeeded by