Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen, left, and in the arms of his father Trefor (Image: WireImage / Collect)
The flamboyant style guru, 54, who worked on interiors for the Queen and Prince Philip, revealed the “huge impact” of his father’s death, ahead of his appointment as official ambassador of the national Make Blood Cancer Visible campaign, to be announced tomorrow. Llewelyn-Bowen, a father of two who lives in a 17th-century manor house in Siddington, Gloucestershire, said his father, Trefor, a highly respected Harley Street surgeon, was virtually removed from his family after he fell ill one Christmas. He died just seven months later in July 1974 aged 42 after spending his last months either in a hospital or a hospice.
Mr Llewelyn-Bowen and his brother and sister only saw him twice again before he died.
The former Changing Rooms presenter said his late mother, Patricia, a former teacher, who died in 2002, who was already battling with multiple sclerosis, subsequently had to fight to keep the family together.
The former judge on ITV show Popstar to Operastar said: “I remember the Christmas when his cancer started to take hold. He had become very short-tempered, very quick in his responses – yet also very slow. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t spending time with us, why he was unwell and in bed. It was an awful Christmas.
"He felt appalling and it wasn’t talked about. I just didn’t understand why he had to withdraw and why he didn’t want to see all of his family.
“He lost interest in the things we had in common and the interests we shared. I wanted to share things with him that we both liked such as history, going to castles, old buildings, churches and heraldry, but he started dwindling.
"He wanted to be left alone and be quiet. I felt disappointed and particularly disappointed that my last memories of him were about him disappearing and not sharing.
“Not long after, he was admitted to hospital and my mother explained he was really ill. He just disappeared. He came home for about a week in Easter after that and it was terribly shocking to see him. He had no hair, and as they did then, he had a rather improbable wig.
“He didn’t look like the father I remember. He slowly just evaporated from our lives. It is so odd.