Profile: Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma

Patricia Mountbatten (seated at the center) on her wedding day. Image: Alchetron

Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma was Prince Philip's first cousin and third cousin to Queen Elizabeth II.  She was born Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten on February 14, 1924, the elder daughter of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and his wife, heiress Edwina Ashley. Her younger sister was Lady Pamela Hicks. She was also the last surviving baptismal sponsor to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.

Patricia Mountbatten married John Knatchbull, the 7th Baron Brabourne on October 26, 1946. He was an aide to her father in the Far East. The wedding was celebrated at Romsey Abbey, witnessed by members of the British Royal Family. Her bridesmaids included the future Queen Elizabeth II,  Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra of Kent, and her sister Lady Pamela Mountbatten. Lord and Lady Brabourne eventually became one of the very few married couples to hold a peerage in their own right when she succeeded as Countess Mountbatten of Burma after the IRA blew the family boat in Co Sligo in Co Sligo, killing her father, son, and mother-in-law. Lady Mountbatten was pulled from the water and required 120 stitches to her face, which she wryly referred to in later years as “my IRA facelift.”  She described the IRA killers as “inhuman” but said she had learned to live with what happened. “If you are bitter, it consumes you, your family and the people are around you. It is corrosive. It destroys your normal life. If my father had survived he would have felt the same.”

The title she inherited from her father was in created 1947 with the special remainder that in case Lord Mountbatten dies without a male heir, the titles could pass to his daughters, in order of seniority of birth, and to their heirs respectively. Thus, the Countess was accorded seat in the House of Lords until 1999, when the House of Lords Act 1999 removed most hereditary peers from the House.

The Countess spent the three decades of her life to philanthropic activities, particularly on supporting bereaved parents. She died on June 13, 2017. Her oldest son, Norton, already the 8th Baron Brabourne, inherited the title Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

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