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Harewood House, Leeds celebrates the royal jubilee

15:31 13 March 2012

Harewood House, Leeds

Harewood House, Leeds

Harewood House is celebrating the royal jubilee with two very special exhibitions, as Jo Haywood reports

Like most young couples moving into their first family home, Mary and Henry wanted to make a few changes. But unlike most young couples, she was a princess, he was an earl and their home was Harewood House, so they couldnt just knock down a few walls and knock up a conservatory.

Princess Mary married Henry, 6th Earl of Harewood, in 1922, moving
in to his familys ancestral home on the outskirts of Leeds seven years later. In the decades that followed, they introduced many modern amenities and commissioned architect Sir Herbert Baker to design a new suite of rooms for them.

They were both also keen gardeners and the changes and improvements they made to Harewoods substantial grounds can still be seen today.

To mark the Queens jubilee, Harewood is celebrating the Princess Royals four decades in residence with a special exhibition that runs throughout the house and into the gardens she loved so much. As a bonus, visitors can also see an exhibition of intimate family photographs of the Queen, generously lent by the Royal Collection and including snapshots and formal portraits from childhood to motherhood.

Anna Robinson, head of house and collections, believes the dual event will prove popular with visitors, particularly those from within the county.
Yorkshire was home to Princess Mary for four decades, she said. Her love of Yorkshire and the affection the people of Yorkshire felt for her in return mean she will always be remembered as The Yorkshire Princess.

The princess and her husband were avid collectors and, with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Harewood is displaying some of their most precious possessions for the first time, among them exquisite fans, gifts from heads of state, and presents from her royal relations by the great designer Faberge.

Princess Mary loved the countryside and was proud to call Harewood her family home, where she raised two sons and continued to live for nearly 20 years after her husbands death in 1947.

She saw Harewood through tremendous change, said Anna. And she died here, walking round the lake with her son and two of her grandsons in 1965.

The life of the Queen, who celebrates her diamond jubilee this year, is also being brought into sharp focus at Harewood this spring with a display of wonderful photographs taken by royal favourite Marcus Adams.

They capture with immense charm the early life of the young princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, from Princess Elizabeths first sitting in 1926 when she was just over seven months old. The collection then progresses through her life, the pre-war years, her last years with her father and into motherhood Adams photographed Prince Charles and Princess Anne 13 times between 1949 and 1956.

Some are formal and some are fun, but all these striking portraits and vibrant photographs have their own distinctive style, said Anna. The collection provides a unique insight into the life of the child destined to become Queen.

The photographs from the Royal Collection will undoubtedly pull in
the crowds, but the strength of feeling for Yorkshires Princess shouldnt be underestimated.

Family photographs, portraits, period footage and precious personal items will allow people to see Harewood as the family home it has always been, said Anna. Especially for the Princess Royal, who preferred country life to that of the city, and loved Harewood more than anywhere.

Royal Harewood: Celebrating the Life of The Yorkshire Princess and Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer open at Harewood House on Saturday March 31st and run until Sunday June 17th.


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