On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and Prince Charles attended the funeral of Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who survived the IRA bomb that killed her father, Earl Mountbatten, and her teenage son in 1979.
Patricia Mountbatten died peacefully on June 13 at her home in Mersham, Kent. She was surrounded by her children, her family said in a statement. She was 93.
The great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and cousin to Prince Philip was left devastated in August 1979 when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) blew up the family’s boat in Co Sligo, Ireland. Her father, Earl Mountbatten, Charles’s great-uncle and mentor, died instantly. Her 14-year-old son, Nicholas Knatchbull, was also killed in the blast.
Countess Mountbatten was pulled from the water and required 120 stitches to her face.
The assassination of Mountbatten was the first strike against the British royal family by the IRA during its terrorist campaign to drive the British out of Northern Ireland and unite it with the Republic of Ireland to the south.
The IRA immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it detonated the bomb by remote control from the coast. IRA member Thomas McMahon was later arrested and convicted of preparing and planting the bomb that destroyed Mountbatten’s boat.
The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, was a bridesmaid at her wedding to Lord Brabourne in 1946. The Countess was widowed in 2005. She devoted the last 30 years of her life to charity, particularly to those benefiting bereaved parents.
Upon arrival at the service at St. Paul’s Church in London, Prince Charles greeted his parents with a kiss as they prepared to say farewell to the Countess. Philip appeared to be in good health just days after being released from the hospital, where he was treated for an infection. Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, were also in attendance.
During the hour-long service, Prince Charles gave an address to around 500 members of the late Countess’ friends and family, paying tribute to his “very special godmother.”
At the time of her death, Prince Charles said in a statement, “I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of my very special godmother, Lady Mountbatten, whom I have known and loved ever since I can first remember.
“She played an extremely important part in my life and I shall miss her presence most dreadfully.”
She is survived by four sons and two daughters. The eldest son, the 8th Lord Brabourne, born in 1947, succeeds to the titles.