Queen’s cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten who became the first royal in a same-sex marriage admits his family ‘don’t really talk about it’ as he prepares to celebrate first wedding anniversary
- Lord Ivar Mountbatten, 56, came out and separated from wife of 16 years in 2011
- But he doesn’t know how decision went down with royals as they ‘don’t discuss it’
- ‘The royals, they don’t communicate very well,’ he said ahead of anniversary
The first member of the royal family to marry someone of the same sex has revealed his relatives don’t discuss his relationship.
Lord Ivar Mountbatten, 56, who is the Queen’s third cousin, is gearing up to celebrate his first wedding anniversary with Glasgow-born flight attendant James Coyle.
The father-of-three separated from his wife Lady Penny Mountbatten in 2011, revealing that he had struggled with his sexuality through their relationship.
But he admitted he has no idea how his decision to become the first member of the extended royal family to come out as gay was received.
‘They really don’t talk about it,’ he told Tatler magazine. ‘I mean, the royals, they don’t communicate very well.’
Lord Ivar Mountbatten (right) and his Glasgow-born husband James Coyle soaking up the sun in The Bahamas in March
Lord Ivar Mountbatten (right) with his fiancee James Coyle and former wife Lady Penny Mountbatten at their home in Uffculme in Devon
The former couple pose with their three daughters at a polo match in West Sussex in 2005
Lord Ivar is still living at the family’s Grade I listed home near the village of Uffculme in Devon with Lady Penny and their three daughters Ella, 23, Alix, 21, and 16-year-old Luli.
While it may seem odd looking in, he says his family have embraced having his new love – whom he met in the swish Swiss ski resort of Verbier – in the house too.
He said: ‘I think they like having another man in the house. Better than a stepmother who could’ve turned out to be a step-monster.’
Lady Penny, from whom he was divorced nine years ago, is incredibly supportive of the union and even gave her former husband away at the ceremony.
Speaking to The Mail last year, she said: ‘Ivar is so much more relaxed these days. He’s so much kinder. He’s become a great cook.
Aristocratic ideal: Lord Ivar Mountbatten and Penny on their wedding day 25 years ago
‘I now call him Fanny Cradock. He probably wasn’t even aware that by keeping his sexuality a secret it was really quite tormenting him.
‘Now it’s ‘out’ he’s a completely different person. Everybody says they’ve never seen him happier.”
Lord Ivar’s life is demonstrably different from 25 years ago when he married Penny in a ceremony at the family’s ancestral home in Essex, which was attended by Princess Margaret and Prince Edward. But he still describes it as ‘the best day of his life’.
By 2011 he’d split from Penny and three years later he met Mr Coyle, 57. They immediately clicked and three weeks later he was being introduced to family members.
Lord Ivar’s mother Janet, 81, is said to be supportive of the union and insists you should ‘try everything once’.
His aunt, Nadejda Mountbatten, 2nd Marchioness of Milford Haven, was a lesbian.