This is wonderful news. Lord Ivar Mountbatten is to marry his partner, James Coyle, an airline cabin services director, later this summer, at his home, Bridwell Park, in Devon.
The tabloids and a selection of royal websites are touting this marriage as the first same sex marriage in the Royal Family. The papers and sites describe the 55-year-old Lord Ivar as as Queen Elizabeth's cousin.
Yes, the words Royal Family and Queen's cousin get the clicks and the attention. But it must be stressed that Lord Ivar is not a member of the Royal Family. He is Queen Elizabeth II's third cousin once removed, which is not that close.
Victoria - Edward - George - George -Elizabeth
Victoria - Alice - Victoria - George -David -Ivar
What these journalists and bloggers are omitting are the real family connections. Lord Ivar's father, David, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven (1919-1970), was Prince Philip's FIRST Cousin. Childhood playmates. David's father, George, who was married to Countess Nada de Torby, was Prince Philip's guardian until his death in 1938.
George had two older sisters, Alice (Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark), Louise (Queen of Sweden) and a younger, brother, Louis, known as Dickie, known as Lord Louis Mountbatten after the family relinquished their German titles (Princes and Princess of Battenberg) for a British peerage. George's father. Prince Louis of Battenberg, a naturalized Briton, who rose to the position of First Sea Lord, was created Marquess of Milford Haven, Earl of Medina and Viscount Alderney. His wife, Victoria, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was offered the opportunity by her first cousin, George V, to retain her own title of Princess (dropping the of Hesse and By Rhine) but she preferred to be styled by her husband's new title. Princess Victoria, whose mother was Princess Alice, Queen Victoria's second daughter and third child, had new style and title: Marchioness of Milford.
Victoria, as Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven lived in a grace and favor apartment in Kensington Palace until her death in 1950.
It is important to stress Lord Ivar's relationship to the Royal Family without insisting that he is a member of the Royal Family.
David and Philip were childhood playmates, good friends, along with David's first cousin, Alex Wernher. Alex (1918-1942) was the son of Sir Harold and Lady Zia Wernher (nee Countess Zia de Torby, sister of the Marchioness of Milford Haven.) Alex was Philip's mentor and very much like a supportive older brother. Philip was devastated when he learned that Alex had been killed in action in 1942.
David Milford Haven was Philip's best man at the latter's wedding to the the Princess Elizabeth, in November 1947. But after Philip's marriage, the friendship between he and his first cousin dissipated as Lord Milford Haven may have blotted his copy book with his royal cousin. The palace -- and especially Philip, may have been disappointed in the choices that David made and the hard-partying friends that he made among London's demi-monde society.
Lord Milford Haven caught the attention of the press when he became engaged to an American, another Mrs. Simpson, who was born Romaine Dahlgren Pierce (1923-1975). The marriage took place in Washington, D.C., in 1950. The marriage did not last long, as Lady Milford Haven sought a divorce four years later in Mexico.
In 1958, David petitioned the High Court of Justice to have the Mexican divorce recognized as valid in the United Kingdom. The Mexican divorce was ruled invalid and in July 1960, Lady Milford Haven filed a divorce petition in London. A week later, a judge granted a decree nisi to Lady Miford Haven on the grounds of Lord Milford Haven's adultery.
The new bride and groom shared a family connection. Janet's paternal aunt Mary Mercedes Bryce married Col. Joseph Harold John Phillips. Their younger son, Lt. Col. Harold Pedro Joseph Phillips (1909-1980) married Georgina Wernher, David Milford Haven's first cousin.
The couple had two sons: George, the 4th Marquess of Milford (1961) and Lord Ivar Mountbatten (1963).
Lord Milford Haven died on April 14, 1970 after collapsing at Liverpool Street Station. The Duke of Edinburgh was present for the Memorial Service, held in the Queen's Chapel, St. James's Palace, on June 23, 1970.
Lord Ivar attended Gordonstoun. He decided to attend university in the United States and received a BA in geology from Middlebury College in Vermont. After spending several years working as a mining expert in Venezuela, Ivar returned to England to live. He and his older brother had inherited Moyns Park, a stately home in Steeple Bumpstead in Essex. The estate had been left to the brothers by Josephine Hartford Bryce, the widow of Janet's first cousin, Ivar Bryce. Josephine was a heir to the A&P fortune and the sister of Huntington Hartford.
Ivar Bryce was a long time friend of Ian Fleming.
Lord Ivar moved into Moyns Park and planned to make it his home. He bought his brother, George's half of the inheritance. In 1994, Ivar married Penelope Thompson, The guests at the wedding including Princess Margaret, Prince Edward and Sophie Rhys-Jones. Edward and Lord Ivar have been friends since childhood so it was not a surprise that Lord Ivar was named as one of Lady Louise Windsor's godparents.
Lord Ivar sold Moyns Park for £4 million in 1997 and purchased Bridwell Park in Uffculme, Devon, not long afterward. The first reports of marital discord surfaced in September 2010. They divorced a year later.
Lord and Lady Ivar are the parents of three daughters, Ella Louise Georgina (1996), Alexandra Nada Victoria (1998) and Louise Xenia Rose (2002). The Earl of Wessex is a godfather to Ella and the Countess of Wessex is one of Alexandra's godmothers.
It was not until the fall of 2016 that Lord Ivar decided to go public about his homosexuality and that he had fallen in love with a man who attended the same yoga class as his former wife.
He spoke to the Daily Mail about coming out and acknowledging his relationship with James Coyle in a very public manner.
"Being a Mountbatten was never the problem. 'It was the generation into which I was born. When I was growing up, it was known as "the love that dare not speak its name", but what's amazing now is how far we have all come in terms of acceptance."
The two men met in Verbier in March 2015.
Lord Ivar realized he was bi-sexual when he was a teenager, but "I just did not want to go there because there would have been so much grief.
"I never thought I would get married because I didn't want to be untruthful. Penny was aware before we got married. I told her I was bisexual, that my attraction went both ways. She was understanding and I will always be grateful to her. We had a lot of fun, we have three fabulous daughters and I don't regret any stage of my life.
"Ultimately, Penny did not feel sufficiently loved and she wanted more from a husband than she could get from me. Given my sexuality, I was quite surprised she married me in the first place. It was brave. Perhaps she thought she could change me but in the end she realised she couldn't."
Last week, Lord Ivar announced that he and James will marry later this summer.
The marriage has the support of his former wife and their three daughters. In fact, Penny joined Ivar and James for their first interview.
Penny will be giving Lord Ivar away at the ceremony.
"It was the girls' idea. It makes me feel quite emotional. I'm really very touched"
Lord Ivar said that the marriage "has the full blessing" of their family and friends, including the Earl of Wessex. "Sophie and Edward know of our plans and are really excited for us. Sadly they can't come to the wedding. Their diaries are arranged months in advance and they're not around, but they adore James. Everyone adores him."
Lord Ivar is a descendant of Queen Victoria, Peter the Great and Alexander Pushkin. Although he is closely related to the Duke of Edinburgh -- and the Prince of Wales is his second cousin -- he is not a member of the British Royal Family. He is the younger brother of the 4th Marquess of Milford Haven and is related to all of Europe's royal houses. Through his maternal grandfather, Lord Ivar has Peruvian ancestry.