History

Earl Mountbatten of Burma

History

Just inside the west door of Westminster Abbey, at the base of a pillar is a memorial brass to the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma. This was unveiled by his nephew the Duke of Edinburgh on 14 February 1985 and is by designer Christopher Ironside. The Belgian fossil marble slab is inlaid with brass and stainless steel. It shows facing profile portraits of the Earl and his wife and ribbons give the various honours they held with badges, insignia and emblems of organisations or services they were involved with ie.Royal Navy, RAF, Order of the Star of India, State Emblem of India, Army, Admiralty, NATO, Supreme Allied Command SE Asia, Combined Operations, Chief of Defence Staff, cypher of the Countess, Order of St John of Jerusalem, HMS Kelly; cypher of the Earl, and Save the Children Fund. The inscription reads:

Admiral of the Fleet THE EARL MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA

THE COUNTESS MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA

with the respective dates 1900-1979 and 1901-1960 given below.

Prince Louis was born on 25 June 1900 in the grounds of Windsor Castle and Queen Victoria attended his baptism. He was the son of Princess Victoria of Hesse and Prince Louis of Battenberg, later Marquess of Milford Haven. During the 1914-18 war he served in the navy on the ship Lion. At St Margaret's Westminster on 18 July 1922 he married the heiress Edwina Ashley and was knighted. Their children were Lady Patricia and Lady Pamela. He rose to be Admiral of the Fleet and 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. During the 1939-45 war he served on HMS Kelly and was Supreme Commander in South East Asia. He was last Viceroy and first Governor General of India during the transition of power in 1947. During the Suez crisis he was First Sea Lord. Edwina was born on 28 November 1901, a daughter of Wilfred Ashley, Baron Mount Temple of Lee and his first wife Amalia. After the war in Japan she helped organise teams to rescue prisoners of war. She was a very close friend of Indian Prime Minister Nehru. She died in 1960 in North Borneo while on tour as Superintendent in Chief of the St John Ambulance Brigade and was buried at sea. Her memorial service was held in the Abbey. Lord Louis was assassinated while on holiday by the IRA on 29 August 1979. His funeral was held at the Abbey and he was buried at Romsey in Hampshire, near Broadlands his country home.

A photo of the brass can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further reading:

"Mountbatten. The official biography" by Philip Ziegler, 1985

"Edwina Mountbatten, a life of her own" by J.Morgan, 1991

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004