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Website Last Updated - 06 Feb 2016

(from Sept 2006)

Lord Louis Mountbatten

Meeting Miss Edwina Ashley

Just prior to his father’s death, Mountbatten had met a leading member of London society – Miss (later The Honourable) Edwina Ashley, the daughter of Colonel Wilfrid Ashley, MP, later 1st Lord Mount Temple (1867-1939) - a former Army officer who was a Member of Parliament 1906-1932 and held several ministerial posts including Minister of Transport 1924-1929.  In 1921 following the death of her grandfather (The Rt Hon. Sir Ernest Cassel, GCB, GCMG, GCVO (1852-1921)) Edwina had inherited £2 million and amongst other properties - the country seat of Broadlands in Romsey, Hampshire. To compare their income - Mountbatten’s Naval salary at the time was just £610 per annum.  

Whilst touring India with his cousin “David” (Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales - subsequently King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) and later the Duke of Windsor) Mountbatten wrote to Edwina throughout and at his request she engineered a way to stay with the then Viceroy at the Vice-regal Lodge in Delhi. On 14th February 1922 there was a dance at the Vice-regal Lodge and Mountbatten wrote - “I danced 1 and 2 with Edwina. She had 3 and 4 with David and the fifth dance we sat out in her sitting room, when I asked her if she would marry me, and she said she would.” Mountbatten later said “in India, I found three loves… the first, India herself… the second, polo… And finally, my real love.”  Mountbatten and Edwina became engaged but on 21st February 1922 their romantic break was to come to an end. The next schedule of the Prince’s tour meant that his party had to leave to head onto Karachi and subsequently onto Hong Kong and Japan, meanwhile Edwina left for home - Broadlands.  However whilst near Port Said on 24th April 1922, Edwina read the shocking news that “Lord L. Mountbatten, cousin of The King died yesterday”.  Clearly having just announced their engagement, Edwina was devastated to think that her romance had ended before it had really begun. After some delay, she was to discover that the “Lord L. Mountbatten” in question was in fact Mountbatten’s cousin - Major Lord Leopold Mountbatten, GCVO (1889-1922), the son of Colonel Prince Henry of Battenberg, KG, PC (1858-1896), Mountbatten’s uncle - who had married The Princess Beatrice (Princess Henry of Battenberg), VA, CI, GCVO, GBE, RRC (1857-1944), who was the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901).  

“David” - Prince Edward,

The Prince of Wales,

later King Edward VIII

The Prince’s tour finally came to an end on 20th June 1922, and Mountbatten returned to Plymouth on board HMS Renown and Edwina joined the large crowd of on-lookers to welcome the Royal party home.  For the next few weeks, Edwina and Mountbatten spent much of their time together at parties and lunches etc and were the highlight of society. On 17th July 1922 (the day before his wedding to Edwina), Mountbatten was invested as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) for his service as ADC to the Prince of Wales on his tours.  The Prince gave Mountbatten and Edwina as a wedding gift a silver globe engraved with the tracks of the Australian and Indian tours. Other wedding gifts included a diamond encrusted cuff-links from King George V (1865(1910-1936) and Queen Mary (1867-1953), a diamond tiara and brooch from Aga Sir Sultan Muhammad Shah, The Aga Khan III, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, GCVO, PC (1877-1957) and a silver fruit bowl from the tenants of the Broadlands estate.

1922 - Marriage to Edwina Ashley

Edwina Ashley with Mountbatten upon

their engagement

Insignia of a Knight
Commander of the

Royal Victorian Order