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John, 7th Lord Brabourne ​

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.  John's father had seen active service in World War I - being mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the Military Cross (MC).  His mother - The Lady Doreen 'Dodo' 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.  

The Arms of

The Knatchbull Family


The title of Baron Brabourne was created in 1880 for The Rt Hon. Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen (1829-1893), a former MP and Minister in the governments of three Prime Ministers: The Rt Hon. Sir Henry Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784-1865);  The Rt Hon. Lord John Russell, 1st Earl Russell (1792-1878); and The Rt Hon. William Ewart Gladstone (1809-1898).  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).  The 1st Lord Brabourne edited the first edition of Jane Austen's letters, which he inherited on the death of his mother. 


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Family Tree

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The 1942 portrait of Norton, 6th Lord Brabourne
by Sir Oswald Birley

An official engagement photograph of

Patricia & John, 7th Lord Brabourne - both in uniform

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 (aged just 19yrs) 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 (SACSEA).  Whilst serving as Mountbatten's ADC, 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".  


Patricia with her father - Mountbatten,

arriving at Romsey Abbey

to marry John, 7th Lord Brabourne

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 - 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: An official family photograph from the wedding

of Patricia & John, 7th Lord Brabourne


Patricia & John, 7th Lord Brabourne

following their wedding at Romsey Abbey

wed brabourne2.jpg


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."

wed brabourne.jpg

& John, 7th Lord Brabourne

following their wedding at Romsey Abbey

wed brabourne5.jpg

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

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