London — The marriage of Lord Mountbatten, India’s last viceroy and cousin of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, was threatened by infidelities on both sides and the couple even considered divorce, according to his official biography.
Mountbatten, uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Elizabeth and the monarch’s third cousin, was killed by an Irish guerrilla bomb in 1979, age 79.
Author Philip Ziegler said Mountbatten once remarked that he and his wife, a glamorous millionaires, ‘‘spent all our married lives getting into other people’s beds.”
Ziegler, the first biographer with access to Mountbatten’s private and professional archives, said Mountbatten had at least two ‘‘protracted love affairs outside his marriage,”’
Gossip linked Edwina’s name with many men, but while Mountbatten was tolerant of her demand for independence, she was fiercely jealous of his office, achievements, women friends and relationship with their daughter Patricia, the biography said.
Ziegler said in a separate article published in the Mail, ‘‘Mountbatten and his wife often nearly separated and even discussed divorce. There was her long relationship with Nehru (India’s first prime minister).’’
He told the Mail he came to understand Mountbatten was not the handsome, proud, arrogant and snobbish man often projected but vulnerable, self-doubting and sometimes very lonely.
The biography said: “What he (Mountbatten) sought from matrimony was close comradeship, loyal support, affection, by nature he was monogamous; ready, indeed eager to give total devotion, in return.”
Ziegler said in the extracts from the book published in Sunday Times that he was convinced Mountbatten and Edwina loved each other deeply. He also outlined the intense relationship between the Earl and his eldest daughter, Patricia.
“There is always one woman in a man’s life and, darling, she is you,” he once wrote in a letter to her.
The biography dismissed suggestions that Mountbatten was homosexual, quoting one of his diary entries: “I might have been accused of many things in my life but hardly of the act of homosexuality.”
The biography, published next month, also reveals some of Mountbatten’s radical views. He was in favor of colonial independence and firmly opposed to nuclear weapons.
Article extracted from this publication >> March 15, 1985