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NORTON, 3rd EARL MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA
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Penelope & Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh sharing a joke whilst carriage driving ​

ABOVE & BELOW: Penny & Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh

sharing a joke whilst carriage driving

RIGHT: Penny carriage driving at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

Penelope, Countess Mountbatten of Burma at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

 

Penny has successfully become one of the country’s premier carriage driving competitors - being taught the 'tricks of the trade' by her husband’s god-father - Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021), who basically wrote the sport's competition rules from scratch.  As a result of their close bond they would often be seen supporting each other during the Royal Windsor Horse Show held annually within the grounds of Windsor Castle, which often led to gossip and vicious and unfounded rumours about their friendship.  As a private member of their extended family, both Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022) and The Duke have used Penny to share their private thoughts and experiences - and they know that she can be trusted to keep such confidences.  Penny would regularly accompany The Queen to the Royal Windsor Horse Show and was frequently seen in the Royal Box, or walking around the judging pens throughout the showground.

  

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Queen Elizabeth II (pointing) sitting in the Royal Box at The Royal Windsor Horse Show 2022,

with Penny, The Countess Mountbatten of Burma (left),

Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex and The Countess of Wessex 

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Penny & Norton arriving at The Royal Dramatic Theatre,

Stockholm for a Gala Concert, part of the 50th Birthday

celebrations of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

 

Penny and Norton joined many members of the Royal Families throughout Europe in 1996 at the celebrations for the 50th birthday of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (b.1946).  They attended a performance at the Royal Dramatic Theatre at Nybroplan, Stockholm - where both wore the King's 50th Commemorative Birthday Medal.  Penny also wore the 'Mountbatten Star' tiara, which she wore on her wedding day in October 1979.

  

Norton was actively involved in commercial radio from 1974.  He was a director of Capital Radio until 1994, when it bought Southern Radio, of which he was a founder director.  He was also a founder director of Radio Mercury and Ocean Sound, and subsequently acquired the largest stake in Southern Radio from Crown Communications Group - on whose board he had also served.  He was a founder director and shareholder of Satellite Television - which subsequently became BSkyB. He was also a director and shareholder in Gullane Entertainment (formerly Britt Allcroft Group, of which he was the founding Chairman) and was also the Chairman of TV production company Alibi Communications.  

In 1982, to carry on the connection to the Mountbatten/Knatchbull Family with the Royal Family, Norton was asked to be one of the six god-parents of the future Sovereign - Prince William of Wales, later The Duke of Cambridge (b.1982), the eldest son of Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, later King Charles III (1948(2022-    ) and The Princess of Wales, formerly The Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997).  The newly born Prince’s christening was held in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace on 4th August 1982, the 82nd birthday of the child’s great-grandmother - Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900-2002).  On 9th March 1997, Norton joined the surviving god-parents of Prince William at his confirmation at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.  Sadly this was one of the last family events prior to the sudden and tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales in August 1997.

The confirmation of Prince William of Wales, later The Duke of Cambridge in 1982 -  back row - King Constantine II,  The King of the Hellenes; The Lady Susan Hussey (Baroness Hussey of North Bradley);  Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy;  The Duchess of Westminster & Norton; front row (seated) - Prince Henry of Wales; Diana, Princess of Wales; Prince William;  Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales & Queen Elizabeth II ​

The confirmation of

Prince William of Wales

(later The Duke of Cambridge)

in March 1997

(back row - left to right)

King Constantine II of Greece; 

The Lady Susan Hussey

(Baroness Hussey of North Bradley);

Princess Alexandra,

The Hon. Lady Ogilvy;

Natalia, The Duchess of Westminster;

Norton; (seated - left to right)

Prince Harry of Wales

(later The Duke of Sussex);

Diana, Princess of Wales;

Prince William

(later The Duke of Cambridge);

Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales,

later King Charles III;

& Queen Elizabeth II

The christening of Prince William of Wales, later The Duke of Cambridge in 1982 -  back row - Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy; and Norton; The Lady Susan Hussey (Baroness Hussey of North Bradley); Sir Laurens van der Post; The Duchess of Westminster; front row (seated) - King Constantine II,  The King of the Hellenes; The Princess of Wales (holding baby Prince William) & Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales ​

The christening of Prince William of Wales

(later The Duke of Cambridge)

at Buckingham Palace in August 1982 -

(back row - left to right) Princess Alexandra,

The Hon. Lady Ogilvy; Norton, Lord Romsey

(later 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma);

The Lady Susan Hussey (Baroness Hussey of North Bradley);

Sir Laurens van der Post;

Natalia, The Duchess of Westminster;

(seated - left to right) King Constantine II of Greece;

The Princess of Wales, holding baby Prince William

& Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales,

later King Charles III

A British Movietone film (no audio) of the christening of

Prince William of Wales in 1982

On 22nd September 2005, Norton’s father - John, 7th Lord Brabourne died at his home, Newhouse in Mersham, near Ashford, Kent and Norton succeeded as the 8th Baron Brabourne and to his father's Baronetcy and became styled 'Lord Brabourne' instead of his courtesy title.

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John, 7th Lord Brabourne - 

Norton's father

Penelope (then Lady Brabourne), now Countess Mountbatten of Burma in her robes as High Steward of Romsey ​

Penny in the robes of the High Steward of Romsey

Since the Norton and Penny's decision to separate, Penny runs the Broadlands estate alone and although he has now returned to live on the estate, Norton does not get involved in the management of the estate.  Norton has been reconciled recently with his eldest son, Nicholas, Lord Brabourne (b.1981) - who had also been estranged from his parents for some time.  One of Penny’s first official duties as High Steward of Romsey was to attend the wedding of Prince William of Wales, later The Duke of Cambridge

(b.1982) and Miss Catherine Middleton (b.1982). 

 

Penny has been a regular guest at Royal events in the UK, such as Royal Ascot and has joined the Royal Family at Sandringham during the Christmas holidays.  She has close links with many of the Royal Families of Europe - she is a god-mother to Prince Philippos of Greece & Denmark (b.1986), the youngest son of King Constantine II of Greece (b.1940); she attended the wedding of The Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg (b.1981) to Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy (b.1984) in October 2012; and in May 2019, Penny attended the State Funeral at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (1921-2019) - who reigned as Grand Duke 1964-2000.

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Norton and Penny separated in 2010, following his public extra-marital affair and Norton subsequently decided to "reduce" his commitments and local appointments including relinquishing the role of High Steward of Romsey, which he had held the office since 1979 - following Mountbatten's death.  Upon his retirement, the Town Council invited Penny to take up the role.  At her inauguration ceremony in March 2011, she reflected on the recent visit of Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022) to Romsey and said - "it was a day that brought together many of the things that I most love and respect, history, tradition, patriotism, Broadlands and our town.  This event is another occasion that brings together these same ingredients and it will become a memory I cherish."   Penny is the first woman ever to be High Steward of Romsey.

ABOVE: Norton (then Lord Brabourne)

in August 2010, whilst in The Bahamas,

where he moved to

following his separation from Penny

BELOW: Penny accompanied Queen Elizabeth II

to church at Sandringham House, Norfolk

Queen Elizabeth II & Penelope  ​
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Penny with Queen Elizabeth II

enjoying a happy moment whilst watching

the horses at the Royal Windsor Horse Show

in 2018 - a regular fixture in both

of their diaries

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Royal Ascot 2012 - (left to right)
Princess Anne, The Princess Royal;

Prince Richard, 2nd Duke of Gloucester & Penny

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At the funeral of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg in May 2019 (left to right) Penny;

Prince Richard, 2nd Duke of Gloucester; The Lady Elizabeth Shakerley;

Birgitte, The Duchess of Gloucester & Princess Anne, The Princess Royal