Lord Ivar Mountbatten, the queen’s cousin, son of the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven, great-great-great grandson of Queen Victoria, great-nephew of Earl of Mountbatten of Burma and godparent of Lady Louise, has finally come out of the closet.
He is the first member of the extended royal family and the most senior aristocrat of his generation to publicly announce his homosexuality. The 53-year-old aristocrat has told his family and friends he is gay and has introduced them to his partner, James Coyle, an airline cabin services director, whom he met last march while skiing in a Swiss resort in Verbier.
Family and friends have been very supportive and have welcomed the aristocrat’s partner into their lives. Although people might have assumed that being a member of the royal family might present a challenge, Mountbatten says it was never the issue.
“Being a Mountbatten was never the problem, it was the generation into which I was born,” he told the Daily Mail. “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.”
His relationship with Coyle follows his marriage to his wife Penny, whom he divorced in 2011 and with whom he has three daughters. He says that he has struggled with his own sexuality even though his family has been very supportive of his identity.
“‘Coming out’” is such a funny phrase,” Mountbatten says in an interview, but it’s what I suppose I did in a rather roundabout way, emerging to a place I’m happy to be. I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point.”
Given the conventions of his class and the formality of his upbringing, his declaration is very courageous. And now he is finally able to live with the truth and to do so with Coyle at his side.
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