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 Patricia, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma

 

Patricia, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma

Patricia Edwina Victoria Knatchbull (née Mountbatten) CBE, MSC, CD, DL, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, formerly The Lady Brabourne was born on 14th February 1924 at Brook House, Park Lane, London, the eldest daughter of Admiral of the Fleet The Rt Hon. Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979) and The Hon. Dame Edwina Ashley (1901-1960).  Patricia was born into a dynasty full of royal, political and wealthy relations but was born with no title.  She was a first cousin to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh (b.1921) and also a third cousin to Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-    ).  Patricia’s godfather was Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales, subsequently King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) and later The Duke of Windsor.  

Edwina wrote in her diary (in pencil, so not to get ink on the bed sheets) that she had given birth to “a divine little daughter”.  Mountbatten was serving on board HMS Revenge near Madeira at the time of news of the birth of his daughter, and was clearly thrilled as he wrote to his wife - “I could hardly hold myself in when I got the wireless message this morning saying that our daughter had been born.  For a few days past I felt convinced it would be a girl and was praying it would be as I think it’s so much nicer to have a daughter as one’s first child.  That I am a father I simply cannot believe, and oh! my dear I am so excited I can hardly wait until I come home to see her.”  

Patricia was privately educated at Malta, and subsequently in New York, USA, where she was sent by her parents during the Blitz in World War II. Mountbatten and Edwina were concerned that with their German and Jewish pedigree, let alone being related to The King and many of the Royal Families of Europe - they clearly would have been prime targets to any Nazi invasion force.  

 

ABOVE: A young Patricia (centre)

with her father - Mountbatten (right) 

and her cousin -

Prince Philip of Greece & Denmark,

later The Duke of Edinburgh (left)

RIGHT: Patricia as a child

 

In 1943 - at the age of 19, she joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) and served as a Rating in Combined Operations, based in the UK.  She was commissioned as a Third Officer in 1945 and served in Supreme Allied Headquarters, South East Asia Command (where her father was the Supreme Allied Commander) where she met her future husband - John Knatchbull, 7th Lord Brabourne (1924-2005), son of Sir Michael Knatchbull, 5th Lord Brabourne (1895-1939).  John was an officer in the Coldstream Guards who had inherited his peerage following the death of his brother in 1943, and who was also an ADC to Mountbatten.  On 19th September 1947, Mountbatten dedicated a copy of his South East Asia Report - “To Captain The Lord Brabourne, the Coldstream Guards, who as ADC to SACSEA held my hand successfully during the first half of 1946 and held my daughter’s hand even more successfully during the second half of 1946.”.  

 

ABOVE: a pastel drawing of Patricia

(eldest child of Mountbatten & Edwina) as a child

 

Patricia in WRNS uniform with Mountbatten

 

John, 7th Lord Brabourne & Patricia at the time of their engagement

 

Pamela & Patricia - The Mountbatten Sisters