THE grandchildren of Sir Marcus Worsley, the former Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire and brother of The Duchess of Kent, led the tributes to him at his funeral.
Family, villagers and workers from the family estate, and the family led by The Duke and Duchess of Kent and Sir William and Lady Worsley, packed the historic parish church of All Saints, in Hovingham, on Saturday to pay their respects to one of Yorkshire’s leading personalities who died aged 87 on December 18.
James Elwes, Sir Marcus’s eldest grandson, described him as “a wise old sage” who was renowned for his sense of humour.
“He always said he read two books at a time – a hardback downstairs and a light novel in bed because he feared he may be squashed if he read the hardback in bed and it fell on him if he fell asleep.”
Sir Marcus, he said, was “a model of hospitality”, adding: “He was deeply respected and even venerated by us. He cared deeply about his county of North Yorkshire”.
Another grandson, Marcus, said his grandfather’s life had been “an inspiration”.
Other grandchildren – Marcus, Isabella, Margot, Hector, Matilda and Lucy Worsley – read passages from the works of Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Beverley Nicholls, relating how Sir Marcus loved to read the books to them.
The Rev Rachel Benson, who conducted the service, said Sir Marcus had led “a long and varied life” and had left “a void and a silence”.
Also taking part in the service was The Bishop of Selby, the Rt Rev Martin Wallace, the Rev John Warden and the Rev Beryl Bowes, and other clergy in attendance included Fr Edward Corbould, of Ampleforth Abbey, and the Rev Mike Smith, of the Methodist Church, while churchwarden, Eddie Lucas read the lesson.
One of the highlights of the 50-minute service was the singing of Handel’s I Know That My Redeemer Liveth by 17-year-old Jessica Holgate, who was one of a number of former York Minster choristers taking part.
Sir Marcus was formerly MP for Keighley and later Chelsea. He was a former High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, Honorary Colonel of the 2nd Bn Yorkshire Volunteers, a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, and a past chairman of the Royal Forestry Society.
His other interests included the Ryedale Festival, the York Early Music Festival, the North York Moors Festival and the National Trust, of which he became deputy chairman.
He is survived by three children and 12 grandchildren.
The service was followed by burial in Hovingham cemetery where the village branch of the Royal British Legion formed a guard of honour. The family then invited everyone to tea at Hovingham Hall where the family flag had flown at half-mast. A full peal of bells was rung before and after the service under the direction of Paul Young.
• A memorial service for Sir Marcus is to be held at York Minster on Thursday, January 31, at 2pm.