Lord Mountbatten

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Lord Mountbatten
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS (born Prince Louis of Battenberg; 1900–1979), was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. He was the last Viceroy of India (1947) and the first Governor-General of of the independent India (1947–48). From 1954 until 1959 he was First Sea Lord, a position that had been held by his father, Prince Louis of Battenberg, some forty years earlier. Thereafter he served as Chief of the Defence Staff until 1965, making him the longest serving professional head of the British Armed Forces to date.

In 1979 Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA, who planted a bomb in his fishing boat, the Shadow V, at Mullaghmore, County Sligo, in the Republic of Ireland.[1] He was one of the most influential and controversial figures in the decline of the British Empire in the mid to late 20th century. Prime Minister Anthony Eden termed him 'a congenital liar'.[2]

Mountbatten was married on 18 July 1922 to Edwina Cynthia Annette Ashley, daughter of Wilfred William Ashley, later 1st Baron Mount Temple, himself a grandson of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury. She was the favourite granddaughter of the Edwardian magnate Sir Ernest Cassel and the principal heir to his fortune. There followed a glamorous honeymoon tour of European courts and America which famously included a visit to Niagara Falls (because "all honeymooners went there"), and to Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin in Hollywood, Chaplin creating a widely seen home movie Nice and Friendly, featuring the talents of Chaplin, Jackie Coogan and the Mountbattens.

Mountbatten's exploits during the Second World War were the basis of a fictionalised film, In which we serve made by and starring Mountbatten's friend Noël Coward.

Sexuality

Edward Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and his cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten (later Lord Mountbatten of Burma) relax in a canvas swimming pool on board HMS Renown (photo from the 1920s).
Mountbatten admitted "Edwina and I spent all our married lives getting into other people's beds."[3] His nickname amongst friends was "Mountbottom",[4] and it was gossiped that, like his wife, he was promiscuous with both sexes. One report suggests he would procure guardsmen with Prince George, Duke of Kent.[5] Private Eye magazine, which termed Mountbatten "a raging queen"[6] brought the issue to public attention in the 1970s with the publication of two small items, including a potentially slanderous reference to drunken young naval ratings at his Belgravia home. His official biographer later wrote that he could find no evidence to support the allegation of bisexuality, but several accounts claiming this were later published.[7][8]

References

Based on a Wikipedia article.

  1. The Long War by Brendan O'Brien (ISBN 978-0-8156-0319-1), page 55
  2. Roberts, Andrew 'Eminent Churchillians', Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London 1994 p133
  3. Zeigler, Philip Mountbatten: The Official Biography, William Collins & Sons, 1985, p53
  4. A N Wilson, After the Victorians, Random House 1983, p523
  5. Costello, Peter Mark Of Treachery, William Morrow & Co 1988, p466
  6. Private Eye, issue 465, Pressdram 1983
  7. Picknett, Lynn; Prince, Clive, Prior, Stephen War Of The Windsors, Hardie Grant Books 2002, pp55-77
  8. Hutchins, Peter; Thompson, Peter Diana's Nightmare: The Family, Ebooks By Design, 1993