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Mountbatten's Final Years


Mountbatten in 1967

upon taking the Presidency

of the United World Colleges (UWC)


ABOVE: Mountbatten presenting

the 1966 Best Actor British Academy

Award (BAFTA) to Richard Burton

for his performances in the films
"The Spy Who Came In From the Cold"

and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

RIGHT: The opening of the new

headquarters of the British Academy of

Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) in 1976 - 

(left to right) Queen Elizabeth II;

Princess Anne (later The Princess Royal)

& John, 7th Lord Brabourne,

Mountbatten's son-in-law

One of Mountbatten’s greatest pride and joy in retirement was the creation of the United World Colleges (UWC), which brought students from across the world together, regardless of their creed, colour, nationality etc.  In 1962, the Atlantic College of St Donat’s Castle, located in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales was founded where discussion between former enemies was encouraged in an effort to transmit a spirit of mutual understanding to young people to help them overcome prejudice and antagonism through living and working together.  Under Mountbatten’s Presidency (from 1967) new Colleges were founded in order to give more people access to the UWC system.  In 1971, the United World College of South East Asia was established in Singapore, followed by the UWC of the Pacific in Canada in 1974.  In 1978, Mountbatten was succeeded as President of the International Council of the UWC by his great-nephew - Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, later King Charles III (1948(2022-    )and Mountbatten was subsequently appointed Life Patron.



Mountbatten was appointed President of the Society of Film & Television Arts (SFTA) - a merger of the former British Film Academy and the Guild of Television Producers & Directors in 1966, a role which his nephew Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021) had held since 1959.  Mountbatten relinquished the post in 1972 in favour of his great-niece - Princess Anne, later The Princess Royal (b.1950), who remained in post until 2000.  In March 1976, Mountbatten joined Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022), Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021), their son Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, later King Charles III (1948(2022-    ) and daughter Princess Anne (b.1950) to officially open SFTA's new headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London when it subsequently became the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA).   The current President of BAFTA is the eldest son of The Prince of Wales - Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge (b.1982)


Mountbatten with 

The Duchess of Windsor -

widow of Prince Edward 'David',

The Duke of Windsor,

formerly King Edward VIII,

at London Airport in June 1972


Queen Elizabeth II with her aunt - 
Wallis, The Duchess of Windsor 

St George's Chapel, Windsor following

the funeral of Prince Edward 'David',

The Duke of Windsor,

formerly King Edward VIII

On 28th May 1972, Mountbatten's cousin Prince Edward 'David', The Duke of Windsor, the former King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) died at his home in Paris, France.  The 'greatest love affair of the 20th Century'  had come to an end.  Mountbatten was asked by the BBC to make a public tribute in which he said - "he was more than my best man, he was my best friend all my life...  Nobody who knew him then [whilst Prince of Wales] can ever forget him." 

A short British Movietone film showing

the arrival of the coffin of Prince Edward 'David',

The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII

at London Airport in June 1972; and the Lying-in-State

of The Duke's coffin at St George's Chapel,

Windsor Castle; and the subsequent arrival of

The Duchess of Windsor,

who was met by Mountbatten at the Airport 


The arrival of the coffin at the funeral of

Prince Edward 'David', The Duke of Windsor,

formerly King Edward VIII

at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

On 2nd June 1972 (ironically on what would have been their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary), Mountbatten was charged with meeting the former King's widow - Wallis, The Duchess of Windsor (1896-1986) at London Airport.  The Duchess had been invited to stay at Buckingham Palace for the Duke's funeral.  Upon their arrival to Windsor Castle, Mountbatten accompanied the aged Duchess to St George's Chapel, Windsor - where his cousin's body had been Lying-in-State before the funeral, which was held on 5th June 1972.  The Duke, who was 77yrs old when he died, was subsequently buried at the Royal Burial Ground at Frogmore on the Windsor Castle estate.  The Duchess was said to say - "I can't begin to think what I am going to do without him, he gave up so much for me, and now he has gone."

Prior to The Duke's death, Mountbatten had campaigned openly for many Royal treasures held by The Duke & Duchess of Windsor to be returned to Royal Family upon their death, which angered them greatly.  Mountbatten genuinely believed that The Windsors had been wrong to retain family and historic treasures in exile.  However, following the Duke's death Mountbatten suggested establishing a charitable foundation in the Duke's honour and volunteered to be executor of the Duke's will, which his widow declined.  The Duchess treated Mountbatten with suspicion and finally in 1974 asked Mountbatten (politely but firmly) to stop contact with her as she found his constant "offers of advice" distressing.

john Curry 1976 SPOTY_edited.jpg

In 1976, Mountbatten presented British figure skating champion - John Curry (1949-1994) with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy.  Curry had won Gold medals in the 1976 British, European & World Championships and at the Winter Olympic Games at Innsbruck, Austria in the same year.  He was the first skater ever to be awarded the honour.   

Figure skating Gold medallist John Curry (right) -

received the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy

from Mountbatten in 1976


Mountbatten at Broadlands

The Silver Jubilee of
Queen Elizabeth II in 1977

on the balcony of Buckingham Palace -

(left to right)

Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales

(later King Charles III);

Prince Edward

(later The Duke of Edinburgh);

Prince Andrew (later The Duke of York); Mountbatten; Queen Elizabeth II;

Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh; Captain Mark Phillips

& Princess Anne

(later The Princess Royal)



The year 1977 saw the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022), with street parties and celebrations throughout the country.  On 7th June 1977, The Queen and the whole Royal Family attended a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, London.  Mountbatten joined The Queen and other members of the Royal Family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. Mountbatten - who was born in the reign of his great-grandmother, Queen Victoria (1819)1837-1901) was now standing next to her great-great granddaughter who herself was celebrating twenty-five years on the Throne. 


As old age fell upon Mountbatten, he did reduce his charitable work and it was generally thought that at last Mountbatten would spend more time at a slower pace at his beloved Broadlands, but 1978 brought Mountbatten the idea of opening Broadlands to the public, which in true Mountbatten style was a project that he threw himself into completely.  He personally oversaw everything fully in his own inimitable style and on 19th May 1979 (just a few months prior to his murder), Broadlands was officially opened by Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, later King Charles III (1948(2022-    ), who saw Mountbatten as his "Honorary Grandfather."


Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales,

later King Charles III & Mountbatten

at the official opening of Broadlands to the public

Over the last few years of his life, Mountbatten strengthened his 50 year friendship with romantic novelist (Dame) Barbara Cartland (1901-2000).  They met at least once a week, staying at their respective estates and she even managed to convert him to her diet of vitamins.


Mountbatten helped Cartland with the authenticity of the sea scenes and naval background of her novel "Love At The Helm".  

The book was published in 1980 after his death with royalties being donated to The Mountbatten Memorial Trust in his honour.  Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, later King Charles III (1948(2022-    ) was subsequently appointed the Trust's Chairman of the Board of Trustees.  Following being kissed on the cheek by Mountbatten in 1948 at the height of his 'legend in his own lifetime status', Cartland said - "a streak of fire ran through me as if I had been struck by lightning".  Her personal admiration had not diminished over the years and upon Mountbatten’s death Cartland would state that his death was "the greatest sadness of my life." Cartland’s daughter - Raine McCorquodale, later Countess of Dartmouth (1929-2016) married in 1976 (as his second wife) Edward 'Johnnie' Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer (1924-1992), the father of The Lady Diana Spencer, later Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997) who later married Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, later King Charles III (1948(2022-    ) in 1981.  Click HERE to see a Family Tree of Diana, Princess of Wales and how she was related to The Mountbattens. 

BELOW: Mountbatten at Broadlands, 

in the uniform of an Admiral of the Fleet


Mountbatten & (Dame) Barbara Cartland (left)


Patricia, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma
with Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales,

later King Charles III (right)

upon his appointment as

Chairman of the Board

of Trustees of the Mountbatten

Memorial Trust

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