Norton, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Following their very public separation, Norton has decided to 'reduce' his commitments and local appointments and now lives on the Broadlands estate but does not get involved in the management of the estate. Penelope has been a regular guest at Royal events such as Royal Ascot and has joined the Royal Family at Sandringham during the Christmas holidays. She also attended with her daughter Alexandra (b.1982) the wedding of The Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg (b.1981) to Countess Stéphanie de Lannoy (b.1984) in October 2012.
On 30th June 1966, Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) issued a Royal Licence - a legal document where a surname or arms granted to one family is transferred to another person, granting a change of the heraldic arms of future holders of Mountbatten's Earldom who are descendants of Patricia & John, 7th Lord Brabourne - which includes the Knatchbull arms (in the first quarter) in the new shield. Norton, is the first to use these arms. The London Gazette entry is shown (see right) -
The Earl & Countess Mountbatten of Burma separated in 2010 and Norton decided to 'retire' as High Steward of Romsey. He had held the office since 1979, following the assassination of Mountbatten, his grandfather. Upon his retirement, the local council invited his estranged wife to take up the role. At her inauguration ceremony in March 2011, she reflected on the recent visit of Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952- ) to Romsey and said - “it was a day that brought together many of the things that I most love and respect, history, tradition, patriotism, Broadlands and our town. This event is another occasion that brings together these same ingredients and it will become a memory I cherish.” The Countess is the first woman ever to be High Steward of Romsey.
ABOVE: Norton & Penelope at
the wedding of their daughter - Alexandra
to Thomas Hooper at Romsey Abbey in June 2016
RIGHT: Norton & Penelope at
the funeral of his mother - Patricia,
2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma
at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, London
in June 2017
Norton and Penelope showed a rare moment of stoicism in public, when they attended together the wedding of their eldest daughter - The Lady (then The Hon.) Alexandra Knatchbull (b.1982) to Mr Thomas Hooper in June 2016 at Romsey Abbey. However, due to an undisclosed 'illness', Norton did not walk his daughter down the aisle, as would be tradition - this honour was given to Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b.1948), the god-son of Alexandra's grandmother (Patricia, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma).
Whitehall, 30th June 1966
The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to give and grant unto Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas (Mountbatten), Earl Mountbatten of Burma, K.G., G.C.B., O.M., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E., G.C.V.O., D.S.O., P.C., Admiral of the Fleet, Her Majesty's Royal Licence and Authority that every person being a descendant of his elder daughter and coheir presumptive Patricia Edwina Victoria wife of John Ulick (Knatchbull) Baron Brabourne upon whom the title and dignity of Earl Mountbatten of Burma may descend by virtue of His Majesty's Letters Patent of Creation bearing date the 18th day of October 1947 may bear and use in lieu of and in substitution for his own paternal Arms, Crests and Supporters, the Arms of Knatchbull quarterly with the Arms of Mountbatten, the Arms of the Grand Duchy of Hesse and the Arms of Princess Alice Maud Mary, Grand Duchess of Hesse and the Rhine together with the Crests of Knatchbull, of Mountbatten and of the Grand Duchy of Hesse and the Supporters of Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, of Romsey in the County of Southampton, the whole with due and proper differences according to the Laws of Arms, the said Arms, Crests and Supporters being first duly exemplified according to the Laws of Arms and recorded in Her Majesty's College of Arms: otherwise the said Royal Licence and Permission to be void and of none effect. And to command that the said Royal Concession and Declaration be recorded in the said College of Arms.
Penelope accompanied Queen Elizabeth II to church whilst at Sandringham House
One of Penelope’s first official duties as High Steward was to attend the wedding of Prince William of Wales, later The Duke of Cambridge
(b.1982) and Miss Catherine Middleton (b.1982). Since the Earl & Countess' marriage came to a highly publicised end, Penelope runs the Broadlands estate alone and apparently has no plans to divorce his wife at this time. Norton has been reconciled with his eldest son, Nicholas, Lord Brabourne (b.1981) - who had also been estranged from his parents for some time.
Penelope (then Lady Brabourne),
now Countess Mountbatten of Burma
in her robes as High Steward of Romsey
On 13th June 2017, Norton inherited the titles of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Viscount Mountbatten of Burma & Baron Romsey following the death of his mother - Patricia, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma (1924-2017). Again Penelope supported her estranged husband to the funeral. Penelope (who is now styed Countess Mountbatten of Burma) has recently followed her late mother-in-law (Patricia) as President of The Compassionate Friends, a charity organisation that assists bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause - a charity close to the Mountbatten/Knatchbull family. On 4th May 2019, Penelope attended the State Funeral at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg of Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg (1921-2019) - who reigned as Grand Duke 1964-2000.
Norton and Penelope remain married, but are still officially separated and divorce seems unlikely at this time.