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 The Lady Iris Mountbatten

The Lady Iris Mountbatten

The Lady Iris Victoria Beatrice Grace Mountbatten was born on 13th January 1920 at Kensington Palace, London, the only child of Sir Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke, formerly HH Prince Alexander of Battenberg (1886-1960) and The Lady Irene Frances Adza Denison (1890-1956), the only daughter of Sir William Denison, 2nd Earl of Londesborough (1864-1917).  Iris was the only British grandchild of Princess Beatrice (1857-1944), who enjoyed her role as a grandmother much more than she ever did as a mother. In December 1926, Beatrice wrote - "I spent a very peaceful quiet Christmas and had the pleasure of seeing my dear little grand-daughter’s joy over her tree and toys.”

Iris gained a reputation for being a bit rebellious and at 16yrs it was claimed she was the first woman to hold a motorbike licence in England.  She grew into a popular society débutante and attended various Royal and society events.  On 29th November 1934 she acted as one of the eight bridesmaids at the wedding of  her cousins - Prince George, 1st Duke of Kent (1902-1942) and Princess Marina of Greece & Denmark (1906-1968) in Westminster Abbey, London.  On 12th May 1937, Iris was one of the six train-bearers for Queen Elizabeth, formerly The Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon and later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900-2002) at the Coronation of King George VI (1896-1952).  She was the youngest of the Queen’s attendants being aged just 17yrs.

Iris in the arms of her mother - 

Irene, The Marchioness

of Carisbrooke

Iris (aged 17yrs)​ at her home in Kensington Palace, London

On 18th January 1941 Iris’ engagement was formerly announced to Captain (later Major) Hamilton Joseph Keyes O’Malley (1910-1989) - the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Middleton O’Malley-Keyes (1882-1933).  They were married on 15th February 1941 (1) at St Paul’s RC Church, Haywards Heath, Sussex and then (2) on the same day at St Mary’s Church (Church of England), Balcombe, Sussex - the local church to Brantridge Park, home of her grandmother - Princess Beatrice, who attended this service.  Their marriage did not have the full blessing of her family and caused a rift.  Sadly the marriage was not a happy one and they would soon drift apart.  

Photographic portrait of Iris

Hamilton Keyes O'Malley

Hamilton Keyes O'Malley & Iris on their wedding day

St Mary's Church, Balcombe, Sussex

O’Malley was an officer in the Irish Guards and saw active service in World War II.  He was captured by the Germans after the Battle of Arnhem (Operation Market Garden) in 1944 and was a Prisoner of War, being repatriated in May 1945.  Iris and O’Malley were divorced on 24 September 1946 - they had NO children. He remarried within months of his divorce and on 7th January 1949, ris reverted to her maiden name of Mountbatten by Deed Poll. 

A Pond's Cream advertisement featuring Lady Iris Mountbatten

Lady Iris Mountbatten

After World War II, Iris moved to America where she taught dance, became an actress and a model.

She even appeared as a hostess for a live TV children's programme 'Versatile Varieties'.  She enjoyed her 'celebrity status' and appeared in adverts endorsing Pond's Creams (see left) and Warrens Mint Cocktail.