We have been informed by close friends of the death, early today, of a significant figure in British music and public life. Marion Thorpe was 87.
Vienna born, she was the daughter of Erwin Stein, the music publisher and musicologist who became an early mentor to Benjamin Britten. She was one of the few people Britten trusted throughout his life.
A noted beauty, Marion married the Earl of Harewood, a cousin of the Queen and a Britten friend who was director of the Royal Opera. Living on his estate, near Leeds, she co-founded with Fanny Waterman the Leeds International Piano Competition.
When her marriage to Harewood broke up, Marion married the politician Jeremy Thorpe, whose career ended in the high courts.
She is survived by Thorpe, and her three sons.