PATRICIA, 2nd COUNTESS MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA
2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma,
formerly Lady Brabourne
Patricia Edwina Victoria Knatchbull (née Mountbatten) CBE, MSC, CD, DL, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, formerly The Lady Brabourne was born on 14th February 1924 at Brook House, Park Lane, London, the eldest daughter of Admiral of the Fleet The Rt Hon. Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979) and The Hon. Dame Edwina Ashley (1901-1960). Despite being born into a dynasty full of royal, political and wealthy relations, she was born with no title. She was a first cousin to Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021) who he called her 'Fish' and also a third cousin to Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022).
Patricia was christened at The Chapel Royal at St James's Palace’s on 22nd April 1924. Her godparents were Mountbatten's cousin - Prince Edward 'David', The Prince of Wales, subsequently King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) and later The Duke of Windsor; John, Earl of Brecknock, later 5th Marquess Camden (1899-1983); The Lady Patricia Ramsay, formerly Princess Patricia 'Patsy' of Connaught & Strathearn (1886-1974); Mountbatten's sister - Queen Louise of Sweden, formerly Princess Louise of Battenberg, later The Lady Louise Mountbatten (1889-1965); Edwina's sister - The Hon. Mary Ashley, later Lady Delamere (1906-1986); and The Lady Margaret Lindsay, later Illingworth (1902-1997), daughter of The Rt Hon. Sir David Lindsay, 27th Earl of Crawford & 10th Earl of Balcarres (1871-1940). Baby Patricia wore a Valenciennes lace robe, worn by Mountbatten himself at his own christening.
Edwina wrote in her diary (in pencil, so not to get ink on the bed sheets) that she had given birth to “a divine little daughter”. She described her daughter - "lots of hair and the divinest little head imaginable and big blue eyes" but she quite detached and could not wait to get 'back to normal.' Mountbatten was serving onboard HMS Revenge near Madeira at the time of news of the birth of his daughter, and was clearly thrilled as he wrote to his wife - "I could hardly hold myself in when I got the wireless message this morning saying that our daughter had been born. For a few days past I felt convinced it would be a girl and was praying it would be as I think it’s so much nicer to have a daughter as one’s first child. That I am a father I simply cannot believe, and oh! my dear I am so excited I can hardly wait until I come home to see her."
with her mother - Edwina, 'Lady Louis'
Patricia was privately educated at Malta, and subsequently in New York, USA, where she was sent by her parents during the Blitz in World War II. Mountbatten and Edwina were concerned that with their German and Jewish pedigree, let alone being related to King George VI (1895(1936-1952) and many of the Royal Families of Europe - they clearly would have been prime targets to any Nazi invasion force.
A young Patricia (centre)
with her cousin -
of Greece & Denmark,
later Prince Philip,
1st Duke of Edinburgh (left)
with her father
A pastel drawing of
Patricia as a child
A 1938 portrait of Patricia
by Raymond Kanelba
In 1943 - at the age of 19, she joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and served as a Rating in Combined Operations, based in the UK. She was commissioned as a Third Officer in 1945 and served in Supreme Allied Headquarters, South East Asia Command (SEAC), where her father was the Supreme Allied Commander. It was there that she met her future husband - John Knatchbull, 7th Lord Brabourne (1924-2005), son of Sir Michael Knatchbull, 5th Lord Brabourne (1895-1939), who was an ADC to Mountbatten. John was an officer in the Coldstream Guards who had inherited his Barony in 1943, following his elder brother's execution at Bronzolo, South Tyrol, Italy, whilst trying to escape (whilst a Prisoner of War) during World War II. On 19th September 1947, Mountbatten dedicated a copy of his South East Asia Report - "To Captain The Lord Brabourne, the Coldstream Guards, who as ADC to SACSEA held my hand successfully during the first half of 1946 and held my daughter’s hand even more successfully during the second half of 1946."
A young Patricia with Edwina
(in WRNS uniform)
with her father - Mountbatten
(left to right)
(in a WRNS officer's uniform)
On 26th October 1946, Mountbatten’s eldest daughter - The Hon. Patricia Mountbatten married John, 7th Lord Brabourne (1924-2005) at Romsey Abbey. The wedding of his eldest daughter was a typical display of Mountbatten's organisational skills - with him taking personal charge of much of the arrangements. He was determined that the day would be one to remember as any proud father would. Although this glittering society wedding took place in the presence of King George VI (1895(1936-1952), it was the first time that the then Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022) was seen publicly with Prince Philip of Greece & Denmark, later Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021) - Mountbatten’s nephew, that caught the headlines with talk a pending romance between the Royal cousins.
Patricia's bridesmaids - (left to right):
Pamela Mountbatten; Princess Alexandra; Princess Margaret
& Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II)
Patricia's bridesmaids - wearing dresses in blue crepe described as "happy blue" with fresh gentians and yellow roses in their hair, were her sister Pamela, Princess Margaret (1930-2002), Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022) and Princess Alexandra of Kent (b.1936), the daughter of Prince George, 1st Duke of Kent (1902-1942). Lord Brabourne's best man was Squadron Leader Charles D. Harris-St John (1919-2002), who had served alongside him whilst an ADC to Mountbatten, when he was Supreme Allied Commander SE Asia (SACSEA). The wedding ceremony was conducted by The Most Rev & Rt Hon. Geoffrey Fisher, later Lord Fisher of Lambeth (1887-1972), Archbishop of Canterbury, with the address given by The Rt Revd Dr Mervyn Haigh (1887-1962), Bishop of Winchester.
Patricia's dress was designed by Edward Molyneux (1891-1974), the leading society fashion designer made out of Indian silver-gold brocade given to Edwina whilst on a tour for the Red Cross in India. The veil was made of tulle which Edwina wore at her own wedding in 1922, with lace that came from Lord Brabourne's family. Edwina also gave Patricia her diamond star tiara (called the 'Mountbatten Star Tiara'), originally given to her by Mountbatten's mother, which she had also worn in 1922. The flowers were arranged by society florist Constance Spry (1886-1960), who also created the flower arrangements for the 1937 wedding of Mountbatten's cousin - Prince Edward 'David', The Prince of Wales, subsequently King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) and later The Duke of Windsor to Mrs Wallis Simpson (1896-1986).
ABOVE & BELOW:
Patricia with her father
arriving at Romsey Abbey
ABOVE: An official photograph from the wedding
of Patricia & John, 7th Lord Brabourne -
Back row (left to right): John, 7th Lord Brabourne;
Sqdn-Ldr Charles Harris St-John;
Middle row (left to right): Pamela; Patricia;
Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II;
Front row (left to right): Princess Alexandra;
and Princess Margaret
LEFT: & BELOW
Patricia & John, 7th Lord Brabourne
following their wedding at Romsey Abbey
Upon her marriage, Patricia became styled 'Lady Brabourne' and was known as such until 1979 - when she succeeded to her father's Earldom. As a daughter of a Viscount, she had received the courtesy prefix of 'Honourable' but when she married a Baron she obtained her husband's precedence (which was higher than that of a Viscount's daughter). As most of Broadlands was still being used as an annexe of the Southampton General Hospital, only 200 guests were able to be allowed into the house for the main reception. A second reception was held in Crosfield Hall, Romsey for a larger group, including Broadlands estate tenants. The four tiered wedding cake was made by the local Co-operative Society, with ingredients being donated from local businesses, which the newlyweds cut with John's sword. Following the cutting of the cake, King George VI (1895(1936-1952) proposed a toast. In reply. John said - "It is not very often that you get anything out of War, but I picked up a treasure in South East Asia."
King George VI (between Patricia and Edwina) proposed the toast to the bride and groom
at the wedding reception of Patricia & John, 7th Lord Brabourne at Crosfield Hall, Romsey
Patricia and John, 7th Lord Brabourne had the following children -
Norton Louis Philip Knatchbull born 8th October 1947 at King's College Hospital, London - who succeeded his father as 8th Lord Brabourne in 2005 and succeeded as 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma etc in 2017 upon Patricia's death
The Hon. Michael-John Ulick Knatchbull, born 24th May 1950 at King's College Hospital, London - a god-son of Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022)
The Hon. Anthony Knatchbull, born and died 6th April 1952 at King's College Hospital, London
The Lady Joanna Edwina Doreen Zuckerman (née Knatchbull), born 5th March 1955 at King's College Hospital, London
The Lady Amanda Patricia Victoria Ellingworth (née Knatchbull), born 26th June 1957 at King's College Hospital, London
The Hon. Philip Wyndham Ashley Knatchbull, born 2nd December 1961 at King's College Hospital, London
The Hon. Timothy Nicholas Sean Knatchbull, born 18th November 1964 at King's College Hospital, London - a god-son of Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, later King Charles III (1948(2022- )
The Hon. Nicholas 'Nicky' Timothy Charles Knatchbull, born 18th November 1964 at King's College Hospital, London. He died 27th August 1979 - killed in the same explosion that killed his grandfather Louis, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma