Statement From David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood

Local News

Queen Elizabeth was my first cousin once removed, Cousin Lilibet, the name she was called by all her family. Though we were related, I only really met her on formal occasions during my adult life, so have less personal memories of this remarkable woman. But I do remember the last time she was at Harewood, in July 2002 for her Golden Jubilee. 

It was a gloriously sunny day and the first stop was at the long-running TV soap opera Emmerdale, the village set for which is on the southern edge of Harewood Estate, where my wife Diane and I greeted her. The Queen met and shook hands with the cast and crew and watched the Post Office being set on fire, a stunt staged in her honour and not part of their regular storyline.

The main event of the day was in front of Harewood House, where, accompanied by my father and step-mother, an hour long pageant was staged for her and for Prince Philip and an enthusiastic crowd. This was Yorkshire at it most culturally diverse: on a smaller scale, but not unlike the parades along the Mall for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022, still fresh in everyone’s memory. 

There was music from many different traditions and performers representing all Yorkshire’s different communities. There were spectacular costumes from Leeds’ West Indian Carnival, brass bands from the mining villages of South Yorkshire, Indian dancers from Bradford, operatic arias from Lesley Garrett and guest appearances from Mel B, Brian Close and Terry Venables (who had just been appointed as Leeds United’s new manager) on the steps of Harewood House.

The Queen’s enjoyment was clear for all to see. These were the rich, mixed, varied, sometimes contradictory cultures of 21st century Britain, a Britain very different from the country she knew when she came to the throne in 1953 but one with which she continued to identify and one which she continued to represent with grace and with great dignity.

The length of her reign and the many changes she witnessed during those years are unprecedented in our history. Her death is truly the end of an era, the end of the Second Elizabethan Age.

David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood

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