Queen's cousin becomes first member of Royal Family to come out as openly gay 5 years ago

Queen's cousin becomes first member of Royal Family to come out as openly gay

Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth, has become the first member of the Royal Family to come out.

Mountbatten was previously married to Penelope (Penny) Thompson in 1994 and the couple had three children. They divorced in 2011 and now, at the age of 53, Mountbatten has revealed that he has found love again with a man named James Coyle.


Mountbatten told the Daily Mail that his decision to come out was supported by Prince Edward.

He reveals that his struggle with his sexuality had less to do with his family ties and more to do with the generation in which he lived.

“Being a Mountbatten was never the problem,' he says, '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,” Mountbatten revealed to the Daily Mail.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: Lord Ivar Mountbatten (L) and Chip Bergh, President and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co, attend the drinks reception hosted by Dockers, the San Francisco based apparel brand, at Kensington Palace on the eve of 'Dockers Flannels For Heroes' cricket match on June 19, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Dockers) Lord Ivar Mountbatten (L) and Chip Bergh, President and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co.

“’Coming out’ is such a funny phrase 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.”


Mountbatten’s partner is a cabin services director. They met in a Swiss resort last year when Coyle mistook Mountbatten for a friend.

Mountbatten reveals that he feared exploring his sexuality in his teens though he did identify as bisexual, something his former wife Penny was aware of,

“I just did not want to go there because there would have been so much grief.”

“I never thought I would get married because I didn't want to be untruthful. Penny was aware before we got married. I told her I was bisexual, that my attraction went both ways. She was understanding and I will always be grateful to her. We had a lot of fun, we have three fabulous daughters and I don't regret any stage of my life.”

“Ultimately, Penny did not feel sufficiently loved and she wanted more from a husband than she could get from me. Given my sexuality, I was quite surprised she married me in the first place. It was brave. Perhaps she thought she could change me but in the end she realised she couldn't.”


Coyle says that he had one condition for the pair pursing the relationship.

“If I was going to be with him, it had to be in the open with friends and family. I wanted us to be honest, not to hide anything, not to be anything else,” he said.

Mountbatten concludes by admitting he’s a lot happier now.

“I am a lot happier now, though I am still not 100 per cent comfortable with being gay.”


“In an ideal world, I know the girls would like their mother and father still to be together, but they love their 21st Century family that we have built too. Their father has a boyfriend. It's that complicated and that simple, but finding James means I will not have to lie to anyone or grow old on my own.”

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