1953: Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II
On 6th February 1952 it was announced that Mountbatten’s cousin - King George VI (1895(1936-1952) had died in his sleep at Sandringham House, the King’s country home in Norfolk. He was just 56yrs old and was succeeded by his eldest daughter - Princess Elizabeth, The Duchess of Edinburgh as Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ). After a period of laying-in-state in Westminster Hall, his funeral took place on 15th February 1952 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. Mountbatten attended the funeral and as the late King’s Personal Aide-de-Camp (ADC(P), he walked beside the King’s coffin in the same way his own father had done for Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) and King Edward VII (1841(1901-1910).
Following the death of King George VI (1895(1936-1952) it meant that Mountbatten’s connection and influence with the reigning Sovereign increased. Already a cousin of the late King and related to most of the Royal Houses of Europe, his nephew - Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh (b.1921) was the husband of The Queen. Prior to his marriage, Mountbatten's nephew had became a naturalised British subject in 1947 and adopted Mountbatten as his own surname. This was a chance for Mountbatten to take advantage of this new
dynastic connection and began to openly brag that the ruling House was no longer Windsor but that of Mountbatten.
RIGHT: The Funeral Procession of King George VI
in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle -
Mountbatten is walking in the procession behind
Prince Edward, The Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII)
who is flanked by the late King's brothers:
Prince Henry, The 1st Duke of Gloucester
& Prince Edward, The 1st Duke of Kent
INSET: King George VI
from a portrait by Denis Fildes
The arrival of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
at Heathrow Airport, London following the death of King George VI.
Mountbatten (left) was in the official welcoming party
Apparently Mountbatten’s views were reported back to the aged Queen Mary (1867-1953), whose husband King George V (1865(1910-1936) had founded the House of Windsor in 1917. Perhaps his personal ambitious aims of greatness was just pride, but some saw it power crazed - either way, it forced Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) to seek advice from The Rt Hon. Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965), the then Prime Minister who had returned to office following the General Election in October 1951. In one of her first official announcements of the new Reign, the new Queen declared on 9th April 1952 her “Will and Pleasure that I and My children shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that my descendants who marry and their descendants, shall bear the name of Windsor”. Mountbatten’s hopes that the reigning Royal House would bear his own family name had been thwarted.
Mountbatten on-board HMS Surprise
for the Coronation Fleet Review at Spithead, June 1953
ABOVE: Mountbatten's family in Coronation Robes 1953 -
(left to right) - Pamela, Mountbatten, Edwina (seated),
John, 7th Lord Brabourne & Patricia
RIGHT: Mountbatten & Edwina -
The Earl & Countess Mountbatten of Burma
in Coronation Robes 1953
Mountbatten returned to the Mediterranean to serve as Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet and from June 1952 as NATO Commander Allied Forces Mediterranean and was promoted to the substantive rank of full Admiral on 27th February 1953. Upon his promotion, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh (b.1921) sent a congratulatory telegram to his uncle. The Duke (who had been previously promoted to Admiral of the Fleet in January 1953) jokingly said - "keep it up - you may catch up one day!"
On 10th March 1953, he was appointed Personal Aide-de-Camp (ADC(P) to his second cousin once removed - Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) and both Mountbatten and Edwina were in the procession at the Coronation in Westminster Abbey on 2nd June 1953. Mountbatten relished this opportunity to 'dress up' with as many orders and decorations as possible to add to the colour and pageantry the Coronation offered. The 'new Elizabethan era' brought optimism and hope to the country, for Mountbatten some would say it only brought him more opportunity for self-interest, further advancement and influence at Court.