The Lady Pamela Hicks
After World War II, Mountbatten was appointed Viceroy of India and on 22nd March 1947, Pamela arrived in India with her parents. This was an adventure of a lifetime, and Pamela accompanied her parents to Vice-regal engagements, dinners, parties and visits throughout India. She learnt Hindustani and also worked in the Allied Forces Canteen and in a free medical clinic and dispensary for the poor of Delhi. Mountbatten was joined each morning at 6.30am, for a morning ride - a time he could escape his official duties and the often fraught politics of India and spend quality time with his daughter.
On 15th August 1947, at the official ceremony of the raising of the new Indian flag following independence (and the end of the British Raj), due to the huge crowds Pamela was surrounded by people 'cut off' from her parents and the other officials and had to be rescued personally by the new Prime Minister of India - Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), who climbed through the crowds, with both of them literally walking on top of the people. Following Mountbatten being granted an Earldom on 28th October 1947, Pamela was accorded the courtesy title of The Lady Pamela Mountbatten. She was to write in her diary - “Daddy has been created an Earl, so Mummy is a Countess and I have the courtesy title ‘Lady’ before my Christian name. Lovely!”
Edwina, Mountbatten & Pamela - the Vice-regal family
The Mountbattens leaving India - Pamela, Jawaharal Nehru & Edwina
on the steps of Government House, New Delhi, India
Pamela (aged 17yrs) in the gardens of
the Viceroy's House, New Delhi, India
Pamela at an open event led by
Mohandas K. Gandhi,
the spiriutal father of Indian independence
The Mountbattens left Government House with all the pomp and pageantry one would expect. Mountbatten inspected a Guard of Honour and having formally taken his final salute, The Mountbattens left in the open State Landau carriage heading for the airport with thousands of ordinary Indians shouting their love and admiration for Mountbatten and Edwina along the route. Two days later The Mountbattens returned to the UK via RAF Northolt, and amongst the officials awaiting them was Mountbatten’s nephew - Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh (b.1921) and The Rt Hon. Clement Attlee, later 1st Earl Attlee (1883-1967), then the Prime Minister, who had originally sent Mountbatten to India.
On 20th November 1947, Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) and Mountbatten’s nephew - Lt. Philip Mountbatten, formerly Prince Philip of Greece & Denmark and now Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh (b.1921) were married at a glittering ceremony at Westminster Abbey, London. Pamela was one of the 8 bridesmaids who attended the Princess, the others included Princess Margaret (1930-2002) and Princess Alexandra of Kent, now Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy (b.1936) - who had both been bridesmaids at the wedding of Pamela’s sister, Patricia to John, 7th Lord Brabourne the previous year.
The balcony of Buckingham Palace after the wedding of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh
in November 1947. The best man (on the left of the Princess) is David, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven
and the bridesmaid far right is Mountbatten's youngest daughter Pamela (later Lady Pamela Hicks)
ABOVE: The Mountbattens in Coronation Robes 1953 -
(left to right) Pamela, Mountbatten, Edwina (seated),
John, 7th Lord Brabourne
& Patricia (later 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma)
RIGHT: Pamela (in her role as Lady-in-Waiting)
with Queen Elizabeth II in Melbourne, Australia in 1954
Pamela was subsequently appointed a Lady-in-Waiting to Princess Elizabeth, then styled The Duchess of Edinburgh and accompanied the Princess and Duke on their tour of Australia and New Zealand in early 1952. Although it was known that King George VI (1895(1936-1952) was ill, it was thought that he was in sufficient health to allow his heir to leave the country. The Royal party stopped off via Kenya and on 6th February 1952 news was received that the King had died and that the Princess had succeeded to the Throne. Pamela was yet again a witness to a truly historic moment and said later - “I lost my head, of course, knowing that she adored her father and he worshipped her. I went and gave her a hug, like you would do for someone who’d just lost their father. Then, I thought, Oh... goodness... she’s Queen! And I dropped a really deep curtsey”.