Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tax exile ... or another woman

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In 1979, the Hon. Norton Knatchbull, heir apparent to the Mountbatten earldom and the Brabourne barony, inherited Broadlands, in Romsey, Hampshire. The Palladian mansion, once the home of Lord Palmerston. 
 The estate passed to Lord Palmerston's stepson, William Cowper, later Lord Mount Temple, who, in turn, left the estate to the grandfather of Edwina Ashley.

 Lord Mount Temple died without male issue in 1888. The peerage was recreated for his great-nephew, Wilfrid William Ashley in 1932. The new Lord Mount Temple was the father of Edwina Ashley. In 1922, the Hon. Edwina Ashley married Lord Louis Mountbatten, later 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who inherited the Broadlands estate and Classiebawn Castle in Mullaghmore, Ireland, when Edwina died in 1960. 

 It was decided that Lord Mountbatten's eldest grandson, Norton, would inherit Broadlands, thus, bypassing his mother, the new Countess Mountbatten of Burma. Classiebawn Castle is no longer owned by the Mountbatten family. Norton was styled as Lord Romsey, the courtesy title for the Mountbatten earldom when his mother inherited the peerage. In 2005, his father, the 7th Baron Brabourne died, and Norton succeeded to this peerage. Broadlands is closed through 2011, due to major renovations. The website is also down. 

 Due to Nicholas Knatchbull's drug problems, there have been reports in the media that the Broadlands estate will be inherited by the Brabournes' daughter, the Hon. Alexandra Knatchbull. Nicholas will inherit both peerages if he lives longer than his father.

 If Nicholas dies without a legitimate son,  the Mountbatten and Brabourne peerages will be inherited by Norton's brother, Michael-John, who has two daughters, but no sons. Norton's two youngest brothers, Philip and Timothy have two sons each.

 There has been no confirmation of the reason for Lord Brabourne's departure. Richard Kay's column in today's Daily Mail gives a clue: "The news that the Queen’s cousin, Lord Brabourne, has decided to up sticks and quit Britain — exchanging his stately home, Broadlands in Hampshire, for his estate in the Bahamas — has come as little surprise to chums. Despite being married for nearly 31 years to his wife Penny, they have led separate lives for some time, I am told. A great pal of motor-racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart — who by contrast remains devoted to his wife of 48 years — Norton has decamped to his five-bedroom house on Windermere, a private island just five miles long. Says a pal: ‘It is quite simple. Norton has found somebody else.’ So what does his mother, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, think of it all? ‘I have made it a rule never to comment on anything private to do with my family,’ she says."

 Lord and Lady Brabourne have been through so much. They were married only a few months after Lord Mountbatten's murder in 1979. Their son, Nicholas, has battled drug addiction for more than a decade, and their youngest daughter, Leonora, died from cancer in 1991.

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