Count­ess Mount­bat­ten of Burma

Sur­vivor of the IRA bomb ex­plo­sion in which she lost her fa­ther and a son An­nounce­ments

The Guardian - - OBITUARIES - Above, Count­ess Mount­bat­ten, sec­ond from right, with her sis­ter, Pamela, her hus­band and, in the fore­ground, her fa­ther, Earl Mount­bat­ten, in 1963. Right, the count­ess in 1992 Pho­to­graph: ANL/Rex/Shut­ter­stock Tom Corby Bob Ainsworth, Thelma Bar­low, Jeremy

Count­ess Mount­bat­ten of Burma, who has died aged 93, was one of the three sur­vivors of the IRA bomb that blew up her fa­ther’s old fish­ing boat, Shadow V, off the coast of Sligo in Au­gust 1979. Earl Mount­bat­ten, 79, her 14-yearold son Ni­cholas, and 15-year-old Paul Maxwell, an Ir­ish boy crew­ing for them, were killed in­stantly. Lady Mount­bat­ten’s mother-in-law, the 83-year-old dowa­ger Lady Brabourne, died shortly af­ter­wards.

Her hus­band, Lord Brabourne, and their other younger son, Ti­mothy, the twin of Ni­cholas, were, like her, badly in­jured. The IRA de­scribed the mur­ders as an “ex­e­cu­tion”, a way of “bring­ing emo­tion­ally home to the English rul­ing class and its work­ing-class slaves ... that their gov­ern­ment’s war on us is go­ing to cost them as well”.

She re­called: “They watched from the shore while two old peo­ple, three chil­dren, a woman and a mid­dle-aged man sailed off on a peace­ful fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion on a glo­ri­ous day and then, when we were 300 yards out to sea, de­lib­er­ately det­o­nated the bomb, strapped be­neath the hull, by re­mote con­trol.”

In hos­pi­tal, with 120 stitches in her face, in­clud­ing her eye­balls, she was un­able even to cry, but once the stitches were re­moved, and for the first year af­ter the atroc­ity, she wept ev­ery day, at the same time deny­ing that she felt anger. She dis­missed ter­ror­ists as “a sub­species of hu­man be­ing who have cu­ri­ous ideas”.

In June 1995, she re­turned to Ire­land, for the first time since the killings, to mark a visit by the Prince of Wales. She said she found the visit “a great ex­pe­ri­ence”. With her went a pho­to­graph of Ni­cholas, aged two; she took it with her ev­ery time she had to spend a night away from home.

Pa­tri­cia Ed­wina Vic­to­ria Mount­bat­ten was the el­der daugh­ter of Lord Louis Mount­bat­ten, who in 1947 was cre­ated Earl Mount­bat­ten of Burma, and his wife, Ed­wina (nee Ash­ley). Through her fa­ther, who was born Prince Louis of Bat­ten­berg, Lady Mount­bat­ten was a great-great-grand­daugh­ter of Queen Vic­to­ria; she was a cousin of the Duke of Ed­in­burgh and re­lated to many of the royal fam­i­lies of Europe.

Pa­tri­cia was chris­tened in the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace. The Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Wind­sor, was her god­fa­ther, and among the guests were Dou­glas Fair­banks Sr and his wife, Mary Pick­ford. Lord Louis by all ac­counts be­came be­sot­ted with his daugh­ter, and decades later she said of him: “He was a won­der­ful fa­ther, spend­ing as much time with us as he pos­si­bly could. We had a very spe­cial re­la­tion­ship.”

Her mother, with a whirl­wind so­cial life, was said to have re­garded her daugh­ter as “an or­na­ment with whom she was oc­ca­sion­ally pho­tographed for Eve, Queen, and the Lady”. With her sis­ter, Pamela, Pa­tri­cia was put into the care of a gov­erness, Miss Vick. From time to time they lived in Malta,

For the first year af­ter the atroc­ity, she wept daily, at the same time deny­ing that she felt anger

Pa­tri­cia Ed­wina Vic­to­ria Knatch­bull, Count­ess Mount­bat­ten of Burma, born 14 Fe­bru­ary 1924; died 13 June 2017

for­mer Labour MP and cabi­net min­is­ter, 65; No­bel lau­re­ate and co-founder, Na­tional League for Democ­racy, Burma, 72;

ac­tor, 88; ten­nis coach, 55; critic and au­thor, 55; zo­ol­o­gist, 75;

ac­tor, 42; econ­o­mist, 57; 84; ac­tor, 52; 58; bishop of Chich­ester, 72; Con­ser­va­tive MP and for­eign sec­re­tary, 53; rugby player, 48; sculp­tor, 87; for­mer Labour MP and min­is­ter,

Labour MP, 38; high court judge, 67;

ac­tor, 87; nov­el­ist, 70; snooker player, 34; rugby player, 54; di­rec­tor of mu­sic, St Ge­orge’s Chapel, Wind­sor, 43; ac­tor, 51. 63; film rower, 42; ac­tor, fash­ion de­signer and food writer, for­mer

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