The Mountbattens are an illustrious family that have close links with the British Royal Family. The first Lord Mountbatten was not only the uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh, but also the brother of Queen Louise of Sweden and a nephew of the last Empress of Russia. His wife was a famous figure who had many lovers during the 1920s and 30s, but is remembered for her relief-work during WWII and later as Vicereine of India during Independence.
The first Lord, Louis, was born Prince Louis of Battenberg in 1900, as a great grandchild of Queen Victoria. He became Lord Louis Mountbatten, after the family renounced their german titles during WWI. He married Edwina Ashley in 1922, and later became the last Viceroy of India and First Sea Lord. He was made first Viscount and later Earl Mountbatten during the 1940s. Lord & Lady Mountbatten had two daughters, Lady Patricia and Lady Pamela.
This antique pearl and diamond tiara first appeared on the head of the infamous Edwina, Countess of Mountbatten. She wore it at the Dominion Day dinner at the Canadian Women’s Club in London, in February 1950. It was probably a new acquisition (it hadn’t been seen previously) bought as a replacement for the pearl and diamond star tiara given as a wedding gift to Lady Patricia in 1946. Lady Mountbatten also wore it at a gala performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London on the eve of the Coronation of Queen Elisabeth II, and at a banquet given for her sister– and brother-in-law, the King and Queen of Sweden, in 1954.
Lady Pamela borrowed the tiara from her mother the next day for the Coronation in Westminster Abbey. Lady Pamela is a very interesting figure. She accompanied her parents to India, and published her experiences in India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens During the Transfer of Power. Lady Pamela was appointed as a Lady-in-waiting to her cousin-in-law, Princess Elisabeth, in 1952 for a royal tour. While in Kenya, the Royal party received news that the Princess’s father, King George VI, had died in London, and that the Princess was now Queen Elisabeth II. Lady Pamela recounts how when embracing the Princess, she realised that she was now Queen, and curtsied to her new sovereign.
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Lady Pamela accompanied the Queen on the Post-Coronation Commonwealth Tour of 1953-4. The tour spanned six months and covered 44,000 miles. Lady Pamela accompanied the Queen and Duke on official engagements, and to open Parliament in New Zealand, Australia, and Ceylon. She found the experience tiring, especially “donning evening dress and tiara at 10 in the morning.”
Lady Pamela borrowed the Tiara for her wedding in 1960 to interior desgner David Hicks. When, Edwina, Lady Mountbatten died during their honeymoon, Lady Pamela inherited this tiara as well as the Mountbatten Tiara. David and Lady Pamela Hicks lived a very interesting life during the 1960s and 70s. David was known for his spectacular gardens and furnishings.
Lord Mountbatten was killed by the IRA in 1979, and Lady Patricia became the second Countess Mountbatten of Burma. In 1984, Edwina Hicks, the eldest of the three Hicks children, wore the Tiara at her wedding. The youngest daughter, India Hicks, was a bridesmaid at the wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer as as godchild of the Prince.
When Lady Pamela sold the Mountbatten Tiara and other jewels in 2002, this tiara was not among the lots on the sale at Sotheby’s. Many assumed that the tiara would be seen on Kata de Solis, the bride of Ashley Hicks, the son of Lady Pamela, at their wedding in 2015. However, the bride chose bunny ears, rather than the tiara at their instagram themed wedding.
For more Information, check out the autobiography of Lady Pamela: