Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma

The Countess Mountbatten of Burma

Born Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten
(1924-02-14) 14 February 1924
Westminster, London, England[1]
Title Countess Mountbatten of Burma
Tenure 27 August 1979 – present
Predecessor Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Heir Norton Knatchbull, 8th Baron Brabourne
Spouse(s) John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne (m. 1946; d. 2005)
Issue Norton Knatchbull, 8th Baron Brabourne
The Hon. Michael-John Knatchbull
Lady Joanna Knatchbull
Lady Amanda Ellingworth
The Hon. Philip Knatchbull
The Hon. Timothy Knatchbull
The Hon. Nicholas Knatchbull
Parents Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Edwina Ashley

Patricia Edwina Victoria Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Dowager Lady Brabourne, CBE, MSC, CD (born 14 February 1924) is a British peeress and the third cousin of Queen Elizabeth II. She is the elder daughter of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and his wife, the heiress Edwina Ashley, a patrilineal descendant of the Earls of Shaftesbury, first ennobled in 1661. She is the elder sister of Lady Pamela Hicks, and first cousin to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and is a godmother to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.

Mountbatten succeeded her father when he was assassinated in 1979, as his peerages had been created by the Crown with special remainder to his daughters and their heirs male. This inheritance accorded her the title of countess and a seat in the House of Lords, where she remained until 1999, when the House of Lords Act 1999 removed most hereditary peers from the House.

Marriage and children

On 26 October 1946 she married John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne (9 November 1924 – 23 September 2005), at the time an aide to her father in the Far East. The wedding took place at Romsey Abbey in the presence of members of the Royal Family. Her bridesmaids were Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Lady Pamela Mountbatten, the bride's younger sister, and Princess Alexandra, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent.[2]

Later they became one of the few married couples each of whom held a peerage in their own right, and whose descendants are slated to inherit titles through both. They had eight children and eighteen grandchildren:


Mountbatten was educated in Malta, England, and New York City. In 1943, at age 19, she entered the Women's Royal Naval Service as a Signal Rating and served in Combined Operations bases in Britain until being commissioned as a third officer in 1945 and serving in the Supreme Allied Headquarters, South East Asia. This is where she met Lord Brabourne, who was an aide to her father. In 1973 was appointed Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Kent; she is also a serving magistrate and is involved with numerous service organisations including SOS Children's Villages UK, of which she is Patron; the Order of St John, of which she is a Dame; and the Countess Mountbatten's Own Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth, of which she is Patron.

On 15 June 1974, she succeeded her distant cousin Lady Patricia Ramsay, formerly HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught, as Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, for whom the regiment was named when Princess Patricia's father, the Duke of Connaught, was Governor General of Canada during the First World War. Despite her succeeding to an earldom in her own right as Countess Mountbatten of Burma on the death of her father in 1979, she preferred that the officers and men of her regiment address her as Lady Patricia. She was succeeded by The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson on 17 March 2007. On 28 August 2007, the Governor General of Canada presented her with the Canadian Meritorious Service Cross for her services as Colonel-in-Chief of Princess Patricia's Light Infantry.

Brabourne was in the boat which was blown up by the IRA off the shores of Sligo in August 1979, killing her fourteen-year-old son Nicholas; her father; her mother-in-law, the Dowager Baroness Brabourne; and fifteen-year-old Paul Maxwell, a boat-boy from County Fermanagh. She, her husband, and their son Timothy were injured but survived the attack. Following this loss the Countess became Patron and later, President of The Compassionate Friends, a self-help charitable organisation of bereaved parents in the UK.

In June 2012, at the time of Queen Elizabeth II's first visit to the Republic of Ireland, Mountbatten said the Queen had her full support for meeting Mr. McGuinness, a former IRA commander who was allegedly part of the terrorist group at the time of Lord Mountbatten's murder. "I think it's wonderful," she said. "I'm hugely grateful that we have come to a point where we can behave responsibly and positively."[5] In September 2012 Mountbatten unveiled a memorial to the work of the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties at Hayling Island in Hampshire.[6]

Daughter's involvement with Prince Charles

As Lady Brabourne during her father's lifetime, her immediate family became closely involved in the consideration of a future consort for her first cousin once-removed, Charles, Prince of Wales. In early 1974, Lord Mountbatten began corresponding with the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip about a potential marriage to Lady Brabourne's daughter, Amanda.[7] Charles wrote to Lady Brabourne (who was also his godmother), about his interest in her daughter, to which she replied approvingly, though suggesting that a courtship was premature.[8] Amanda Knatchbull declined the marriage proposal of Charles in 1980, following the assassination of her grandfather.


In October 2009 TCF Canada Inc. presented the Countess with a portrait of herself by the noted Canadian artist Christian Cardell Corbet of which the oil sketch resides in the Canadian Portrait Academy Permanent Collection.[9]

Titles and honours

Titles and styles

Mountbatten was born the daughter of a younger son of a marquess (1st Marquess of Milford Haven, formerly Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg) and thus had no courtesy title. She became the daughter of a peer (when her father was created a viscount), and thus obtained the courtesy prefix Honourable. When she married a baron, she obtained her husband's precedence, which happened to be higher than that of a viscount's daughter. When her father was raised to an earldom, however, her precedence remained the same, because the higher courtesy rank of an earl's daughter cannot be claimed by the wife of a man who ranks as a peer in his own right. When her father died and she succeeded him as countess by special remainder, Patricia Mountbatten became a peeress in her own right. Since her peerage was higher than her husband's, she was entitled to enjoy its higher title and precedence. By contrast, her younger sister's rank as an earl's daughter outranked her husband's status as a commoner from August 1946 to August 1979 because when a peer's daughter marries a commoner rather than a peer, she is allowed to retain the rank derived from her parent.






  1. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  2. "Wedding of Lady Patricia Mountbatten 1946". British Pathe.
  3. Willis, Daniel A., The Descendants of King George I of Great Britain, Clearfield Company, 2002, p. 719. ISBN 0-8063-5172-1
  4. "It's heir kissing". Sunday Mail. 12 July 1998. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  5. Queen meets McGuinness: It's a wonderful moment, says daughter injured by IRA Mountbatten bomb - Telegraph
  6. "Countess to unveil war memorial to secret commandos". Hayling Today.
  7. Dimbleby, pp. 204–206
  8. Dimbleby
  9. "The Canadian Portrait Academy Permanent Collection". Canadian Portrait Academy. Retrieved 19 October 2009.
  10. Canadian Press; Globe and Mail: Clarkson named colonel-in-chief of PPCLI; 7 February 2007
British royalty
Preceded by
Louise Mountbatten
Line of succession to the British throne
descended from Alice, daughter of Victoria
Succeeded by
The Lord Brabourne
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Louis Mountbatten
Countess Mountbatten of Burma
Heir apparent:
The Lord Brabourne
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