Sunday, September 18, 2016

Lord Ivar Mountbatten reveals new partner

Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection (given to me by the then Lady Ivar Mountbatten)

London's Daily Mail has an inclusive --  Lord Ivar Mountbatten,  younger brother of the 4th Marquess of Milford Haven,  has acknowledged that he is gay and has a new partner,  James Coyle, an airline cabin services director.

Lord Ivar, 53, told the Mail:  "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."

As it should be.

The Mail -- and the other British newspapers that have picked up the story - offer the headline that Lord Ivar is the Queen's cousin.  Well, yes, both are descendants of Victoria but do not descend from the same children.  Queen Elizabeth II is a descendant of Edward VII,  Victoria's eldest son and second child.   Lord Ivar is a descendant of the third child, Princess Alice, who married Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and By Rhine, whose eldest daughter, Victoria, married Prince Louis of Battenberg, her first cousin once removed.

Victoria and Louis, who gave up his German titles and was created the 1st Marquess of Milford Haven and Earl of Medina in 1917, had four children:  Alice, the wife of Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark; Louise, the consort of King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden, George, who succeeded his father as the 2nd Marquess and Louis, later created Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
David, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven (Marlene A. Eilers Koenig Collection)

Lord Ivar's father, David, was the son of George, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven (who served as Prince Philip's guardian after he was sent to school in Scotland), was Philip's first cousin.   Philip is the son of Princess Alice.    David was  Philip's best man at his wedding to then Princess Elizabeth.

Lord Ivar and the Prince of Wales are second cousins.

The late 3rd Marquess was married twice.  His second wife -- the mother of his two sons, George (who succeeded his father as 4th Marquess in 1970) and Lord Ivar --was Janet Mercedes Bryce, the daughter of Major Francis Bryce, and she was a model from Bermuda.

The Queen and Prince Philip did not attend the wedding, although the date was changed to November 17, 1960, to allow David's aunt, Queen Louise of Sweden, to attend the wedding.   The wedding took place at St. Andrew's, Frognal, Hampstead.    The bride was attended by a page, Michael Naylor-Leyland, and five child bridesmaids: Fiona Phillips, Marita Phillips, Marilyn Butter, Rohays Butter, and Amanda Naylor-Leyland.

The new Lady Milford-Haven's first cousin, Harold Phillips, was married to Georgina Werhner, a first cousin of the groom.  Gina's mother, Lady Zia, and David's mother,  Nada, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven were siblings.   Two of Gina's children, Fiona and Marita, were in the bridal party.  Marilyn and Rohays's mother is Gina's younger sister, Myra.    [Michael Naylor Leyland, who died in 2015, also had a royal connection: his second of three wives was Princess Saskia of Hannover.]

[David's first marriage to Romaine Dahlgren Pierce Simpson, ended in divorce in 1954.]

David's godparents were the Prince of Wales (Edward VIII), Lady Patricia Ramsay, Grand Duke Michael of Russia (his grandfather), Lady Zia Wernher, and Admiral of the Fleet Sir David Beatty.   He died on April 14, 1970, after collapsing at London's Liverpool Street railroad station.

Lord Ivar and his older brother, George, grew up at Moyns Park in Steeple Bumststead, in Essex.  The estate had belonged to Major General Cecil St. John Ives, the maternal grandfather, of Ivar Bruce, Janet's uncle.  Ivar, a good friend of James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, was married to Josephine Hartford, an A&P heiress (sister of Huntington Hartford), and when Josephine died in 1992. she left the estate to George and Ivar.  A year later, Lord Ivar, bought out his brother's share, as, at the time, Lord Milford Haven was having financial troubles.

He was educated at Gordonstoun and received a BA from Middlebury College, in Vermont.

Lord Ivar became engaged to Penny Thompson in 1993.   In an interview with Hello, Ivar said that it took him a while to propose.    "Everyone loves Penny.  I have never heard a bad word about her.  All my staff here at Moyns said I should settle down with her, but suddenly having someone else in your house for the rest of your life is difficult to come to terms with."

The couple was married on April 23, 1994, at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, in Clare, Suffolk, and was attended by Princess Margaret, Prince Edward, a close friend of Lord Ivar, and his then-girlfriend, now wife, Sophie Rhys-Jones.  The reception was held at Moyns Park.   One of the pages was Galen Crawley, son of Marita Phillips.

The bride wore a Russian tiara that had once belonged to Lord Ivar's great-grandmother, Sophie, Countess of Merenberg, the morganatic wife of Grand Duke Michael of Russia.

Lord and Lady Ivar wanted to make the Elizabethan manor "commercially viable." Episodes of Lovejoy were filmed at Moyns.

The couple had three children:  Ella Louise Georgina (1996), Alexandra Nada Victoria (1998), and Louise Xenia Rose (2002).  Prince Edward is one of Ella's godfathers, and Sophie is Alexandra's godmother.

Lord Ivar is one of Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor's godparents.

In 1997,  Lord Ivar sold Moyns Park for £4 million, and bought Bridwell Park, a Georgian House, in a "secluded 173-acre estate near Tiverton," for about £1.15 million.  With a second child on the way -- and tired of hosting endless parties for businessmen - Lord and Lady Ivar wanted to live a more private life.

In 1998, Penny told Hello magazine: "At Moyns everything was so far away and there was always a feeling of upstairs/downstairs even though we bridged that gap because of the way the house was arranged. Here we don't  have that, which is good."

The couple and their growing family were often featured in the pages of Hello and Tatler.

In 2007,  Lady Ivar was appointed as the UK seller for Baron, a Swedish company that made luxury bags.  "It's great fun being a bag lady.  I've been doing this since March and have adored every minute. I've been married for 13 years and have three children, but because I don't want anymore my husband has told me that I've got to work and make money.  I think the bills for the children's school fees have been horrendous this year."

In April 2010, Lord Ivar was profiled by the Daily Telegraph as he promoted his Devonshire Red hens.   Later that year, in September,  Lord and Lady Ivar announced that they were separating.    A year later, Bridwell Park, was put on the market, briefly, but Lord Ivar eventually decided to turn the estate into a business.

The separation and divorce were amicable.  "It is quite true that we see each other all the time and we really are the best of friends.  I certainly haven't got anyone else in my life, and I don't think Penny has either, " Lord Ivar told the Daily Mail's Richard Kay, several weeks after the divorce was granted.

The couple's eldest daughter, Ella, made her debut in 2014 at Le Bal in Paris.

Bridwell Park remains a family home but has also become one of the most successful wedding venues in England.

As a sidebar, it should be noted that Lord Ivar is the first relative of the British royal family to acknowledge that he is gay, but he is not the first.    The former Prince Alexander of Battenberg (1886 - 1960), the eldest son of Princess Beatrice, youngest child of Queen Victoria, and her husband, Prince Henry of Battenberg, was a homosexual.   In 1917,  Alexander gave up his German titles and was created Marquess of Carisbrooke, Viscount Berkhamstead and Viscount Launceston.  Later that year, he married Lady Irene Denison, and they had one daughter, Lady Iris Mountbatten.  His titles became extinct upon his death.    Lord Carisbrooke's longtime relationship with Simon Fleet was revealed in Cecil Beaton's published diaries.

Lady Helena Gleichen (1873-1947) was the youngest of four children of Prince Viktor of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and his morganatic wife, Lady Laura Williamina Seymour, sister of the 5th Marquess of Hertford.     Viktor was Queen Victoria's nephew, the 4th child and third son of her older half-sister, Princess Feodora of Leiningen, the wife of Ernst I, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.  Laura was created Countess Gleichen, and her children were styled as Count or Countess Gleichen until the first world war.    Lady Helena's longtime companion was Nina Hollings, whom she had met in Germany during the first world war.

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