Lord Ivar Mountbatten: Royal Family’s 1st Gay Member Refuses Label


Breaking Taboos

Lord Ivar Mountbatten does not like definitions, especially that of “first gay of the British royal family”, with which he is often labeled. He is not entirely wrong, although he deserves the merit of breaking a not-so-small taboo, because he was the first to come out and completely change his life to respect himself and those around him. His coming out, Mountbatten emphasizes, was relatively painless compared to that of others.

The Support of Family

In the month celebrating Pride Month, in memory of the protests against the repression of the LGBT community, which began in the New York bar Stonewall Ill in 1968, the aristocrat wrote an article on the pages of the Independent to tell his life experience, which was in no way opposed by his family. “I was very worried about the reaction of my friends and family and wondered if my world would suddenly collapse around me,” wrote Lord Mountbatten, who descends from Queen Victoria. “My fears were obviously unfounded. Everyone was incredibly supportive, and it soon became clear that in the scheme of things your sexuality doesn’t matter to others. In my case, it is fair to say that once I came out I wondered what all the fuss was about”. With James it has been love since 2017. A lightning bolt, after a meeting in Verbier, remembered Lord Mountbatten in his article. Two years later, the wedding, in front of a few guests in the private chapel of Bridwell Park, Lord Mountbatten’s estate in Devon. To accompany the man to the altar, his first wife, Penny Thompson, married in 1994 and mother of his three daughters, Ella, Alix and Luli. Penny has always known. “When we discussed my sexuality, I was reassured by her understanding and acceptance,” said the king’s cousin. A united family, which has never failed to give him its support.

The Reality of Intolerance

However, one does not have to go far to breathe intolerance. James Coyle, his husband since 2019, also went through difficult times, because of his own family. “He had an unhappy moment. Coming from a strict Catholic family, he experienced all kinds of rejection, bullying and abuse”. To those who have suffered and still suffer prejudice, persecution and even live under the threat of a death sentence, I am humble and grateful. For them, I will continue to proudly raise my rainbow flag.


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