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