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 John, 7th Lord Brabourne

John Ulick Knatchbull, CBE, 7th Lord Brabourne & 16th Baronet of Mersham Hatch was born on 9th November 1924 in Bombay, a year after his father - Sir Michael Knatchbull, 5th Lord Brabourne (1895-1939) was appointed Governor of the city.  In 1938, John’s father spent four months as Acting Viceroy & Governor-General of India, and subsequently became Governor of Bengal until his death. His father saw active service in World War I - being mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the Military Cross.  His mother - Lady Doreen Browne (1896-1979) was the third daughter of George Ulick Browne, 6th Marquess of Sligo (1856-1935) and was killed in the explosion that killed Mountbatten in Mullaghmore, Sligo in August 1979.  

 

John, 7th Lord Brabourne

The title of Baron Brabourne was created in 1880 for The Rt Hon. Sir Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen, Bt. (1829-1893), a former MP and Minister in the governments of three Prime Ministers.  His mother - Fanny Knight (1793-1882) was the granddaughter of The Rev. George Austen (1731-1805), himself the father of celebrated author Jane Austen (1775-1817). 

Until he was 10 years old, John spoke Hindi as fluently as English and he was sent to England to be educated at Eton, followed by Oxford and during the latter part of World War II, he was commissioned into the Coldstream Guards.  John’s elder brother - Lieutenant Norton Knatchbull, 6th Lord Brabourne (1922-1943) was wounded and captured by the Nazis in Italy in 1943 and became a Prisoner of War.  On his way to the concentration camp, he tried to escape from the prison train but was recaptured and shot dead.  As a result, John succeeded to the title of Lord Brabourne and to the Baronetcy of Mersham Hatch in the County of Kent, which was created in 1641 for Sir Norton Knatchbull, MP (1602-1685).  John, 7th Lord Brabourne rose to the rank of Captain and fought in France. He returned to India and soon became ADC to Mountbatten, who was Supreme Allied Commander (SE Asia). Whilst serving as ADC to Mountbatten, John met Patricia - Mountbatten’s eldest daughter, who was serving in Supreme Allied Command as a Third Officer in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS).  John later stated that “he fell totally under her spell".  

 

John, 7th Lord Brabourne & Patricia (left) at the time of their engagement

 

The arms of

John, 7th Lord Brabourne

On 26 October 1946, Mountbatten’s eldest daughter - Patricia married John, 7th Lord Brabourne (1924-2005) at Romsey Abbey.  Patricia's bridesmaids were her sister Pamela, Princess Elizabeth - now Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-    ), Princess Margaret (1930-2002) and Princess Alexandra of Kent (b.1936).  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 Princess Elizabeth was seen publicly with Prince Philip of Greece & Denmark (Mountbatten’s nephew) that caught the headlines with talk a pending romance between the cousins.

 

A photograph from the wedding of The Hon. Patricia Mountbatten

& John, 7th Lord Brabourne

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).  

 

BELOW: Patricia on her wedding day

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

  • 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 1957at 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

  • The Hon. Nicholas 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