How Lord Louis Mountbatten’s Death Led To Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s Engagement

by Jeremy Spirogis
Lord Louis Mountbatten (left) and Prince Charles and Princess Diana (right)

The assassination of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Charles’ great-uncle, had a profound impact on the younger Prince of Wales. The former naval officer was killed on Aug. 27, 1979, after an explosive detonated on his fishing boat within the Irish city of Mullaghmore. The bomb was planted by the Irish Republican Army (IRA), who shortly took credit score for the assault. Louis’ grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull, 14, and boathand Paul Maxwell, 15, had been additionally killed within the explosion, and Nicholas’ paternal grandmother, Dowager Lady Brabourne, died the following day of her accidents.

Louis, aka “Dickie,” had an in depth relationship with your entire royal household earlier than his loss of life, and he particularly influenced royal marriages. He was the one to introduce Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, his nephew, to one another, and Louis even had his personal concepts for whom Charles ought to marry.

And whereas his authentic thought for Charles’ future bride was rejected, the recommendation Louis gave the Prince of Wales about his love life—and the occasions that transpired following his loss of life—resulted in Charles seeing the 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer as a viable candidate for a bride.

Lord Louis Mountbatten (left) and Prince Charles and Princess Diana (right) | Keystone/Hulton ArchiveTim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images
Lord Louis Mountbatten (left) and Prince Charles and Princess Diana (proper) | Keystone/Hulton ArchiveTim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

Lord Louis Mountbatten needed Charles to marry his granddaughter

Louis grew to become Philip’s defacto father after his dad and mom, Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark and Princess Alice of Battenberg, cut up. It was Louis who launched Philip to his future spouse, the queen. He additionally grew to become shut with Charles, who would later seek advice from him in a 2015 speech because the grandfather he by no means had.

Originally, Louis had the concept that Charles ought to marry his granddaughter, Amanda Knatchbull. Louis had sturdy opinions that the Prince of Wales ought to finish his relationship with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (then Camilla Shand), and as a substitute marry somebody youthful with a simpler courting historical past. Contradictory to his opinion about Camilla, Louis additionally stated Charles ought to proceed enjoying the sector and “sowing some wild oats” earlier than settling down.

Eventually, Louis organized for Charles and Amanda to make a journey to India to try to get a relationship going. The journey ended up not taking place, however Charles did casually suggest to Amanda after Louis’ loss of life in 1979. Given the tragedy of her grandfather’s closing day, she declined Charles’ proposal to be able to keep away from marrying right into a shiny highlight.

Prince Charles and Lord Louis Mountbatten at a polo match on July 1, 1979 | John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty ImagesPrince Charles and Lord Louis Mountbatten at a polo match on July 1, 1979 | John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images
Prince Charles and Lord Louis Mountbatten at a polo match on July 1, 1979 | John Shelley Collection/Avalon/Getty Images

RELATED: Princess Diana Said Prince Charles Followed Her Around Like a Puppy When They First Started Dating

Diana confirmed Charles compassion after Louis’ assassination

Enter Diana. The Prince of Wales had briefly met the longer term Princess of Wales when she was 16 years outdated. He was courting Diana’s older sister, Sarah Spencer, on the time. Charles and Diana met once more a number of years later when Diana was 18, simply after Louis was killed.

This was a horrible time for Charles, emotionally, as he was feeling intense grief triggered by the loss of life of his great-uncle. In a diary entry he made the evening of the assault, he described himself as feeling “agony” and “disbelief” in addition to a “wretched numbness” that he feared would take a very long time to get well from.

When Charles noticed Diana subsequent, she supplied him consolation and condolences relating to Louis. And in interview with Andrew Morton proven within the Diana: In Her Own Words documentary, the late princess stated Charles acted like a tragic pet clinging to her for affection after that.

“God what a sad man,” she stated. “I was asked to stay with some friends in Sussex, and they said, ‘Oh, the Prince of Wales is staying,’ and I thought I hadn’t seen him in ages. He’d just broken up with his girlfriend, and his friend Mountbatten had just been killed. I said it would be nice to see him. I was so unimpressed.” She later added:

“He was all over me. We were talking about Mountbatten and his girlfriend, and I said, ‘You must be so lonely.’ I said, ‘It’s pathetic watching you walking up the aisle with Mountbatten’s coffin in front, ghastly, you need someone beside you.’ Whereupon, he leapt upon me and started kissing me, and I thought, urgh, this is not what people do. And he was all over me for the rest of the evening, following me around like a puppy.”

Louis’ encouragement to marry somebody youthful and extra out there to him, paired with Diana providing a shoulder to cry on, led to Charles and Diana starting their courtship. They introduced their engagement Feb. 24, 1981, and obtained married on July 29, 1981. And had it not been for the connection recommendation Louis gave and the tragedy that ended his life, their union might by no means have taken place.

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