Patricia, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma
On 15th June 1974, Patricia was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) - the last privately raised regiment in the then British Empire. She succeeded her cousin - The Lady Patricia Ramsay (1886-1974), formerly Princess Patricia of Connaught, whose father Field Marshal Prince Arthur, 1st Duke of Connaught & Strathearn (1850-1942) named the regiment in 1914 after his daughter whilst he was Governor-General of Canada. Lady Patricia Ramsay remained an active Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment until her death, aged 87yrs on 12th January 1974.
The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry or 'The Patricias' (as it is commonly and affectionately called) was founded at his own expense by Brigadier-General The Rt Hon. Andrew Hamilton Gault (1882-1952) at the outbreak of Word War I in 1914 and quickly established itself as a loyal, brave and courageous regiment. Patricia, who was known to the regiment always as 'Lady Patricia' became an active and proud Colonel-in-Chief, visiting Canada often and she endured long journeys and difficult conditions to meet with soldiers serving in remote and isolated areas such as Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, as well as Cyprus and Germany.
On 17th March 2007, Patricia was succeeded as Colonel-in-Chief by a former Governor-General - The Rt Hon. Adrienne Clarkson (b.1939).
In a moving ceremony on 28th August 2007 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Her Excellency The Rt Hon. Michaëlle Jean (b.1957) - the then Governor-General, presented Patricia with the Canadian Meritorious Service Cross (MSC) for her services as Colonel-in-Chief of the PPCLI. The Governor-General said in her speech - “… The Countess Mountbatten of Burma is a model we can all look up to — an example of such timeless values as duty, selflessness and honour. For more than 30 years, she performed the duties of Colonel-in-Chief with the greatest degree of commitment to the soldiers and a deep and abiding interest in their welfare, and that of their families. She has helped unite serving soldiers, veterans, cadets, their families and the general public, raising awareness of the regiment and underscoring its ongoing contribution to the well-being of Canadians. For all these reasons, I am very pleased, as commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces, to present the Meritorious Service Cross to Lady Patricia, the Right Honourable Countess Mountbatten of Burma. I offer the sincere thanks of the people of Canada for your many years of service.”
ABOVE: Patricia receiving
the Meritorious Service Cross (MSC)
from Governor-General Michaëlle Jean (right)
LEFT: The insignia of the
Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division)
RIGHT: Patricia at the official handover ceremony
relinquishing the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the PPCLI
Patricia was in the group that accompanied Mountbatten on that fateful day in August 1979, when he was murdered by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Patricia and her husband, John, 7th Lord Brabourne were badly injured, but survived and did their best to rebuild their lives, which they did with fortitude, strength, and compassion without bitterness. The Brabournes were determined that the Mountbatten/Knatchbull family name would not forever be associated with tragedy, and they devoted the years after the bombing to restoring peace, hope and certainty to their family. Upon the death of her father, under the special remainder granted by King George VI (1895(1936-1952), Patricia succeeded in her own right to the Earldom, Viscountcy and Barony awarded to her father, and she became known as The Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
John, 7th Lord Brabourne & Patricia (both in wheelchairs) at Romsey Abbey
at the wedding of their eldest son - Norton, Lord Romsey
(now 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma)
The Lady Patricia Ramsay
(formerly Princess Patricia of Connaught)
The insignia of "The Patricias"-
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
Patricia in PPCLI uniform
The insignia of the
Canadian Forces Decoration (CD)
Patricia was not able to attend the funeral of her father, but she was able to attend with her husband (both in wheelchairs) the wedding on 20th October 1979 of their eldest son, The Hon. Norton Knatchbull (b.1947), styled Lord Romsey after the death of his grandfather and who subsequently succeeded as the 8th Lord Brabourne and upon Patricia's death in 2017 has succeeded as 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
Since the terrible events at Mullaghmore in 1979, Patricia turned her personal loss into a force for good - not just mending her own shattered family but using her experience by helping other bereaved parents, through her support of two charities - the Child Bereavement Charity and Compassionate Friends. Patricia was well known for her charitable work, from her work with the Order of St. John, SOS Children’s Villages UK, the Burma Star Association to name just a few. In 1981, Patricia was appointed a Dame of Grace of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem (DStJ) and in 1991 she was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) and was a local magistrate (JP) for many years. Patricia held the office of Vice Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Kent between 1984-1989, having been appointed a Deputy Lieutenant (DL) in 1973. In 1976, Patricia was awarded the Canadian Forces Decoration (CD).