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Website Last Updated - 06 Feb 2016

(from Sept 2006)

On 28th August 1914, Edwina’s father remarried.  His new wife - Muriel (known as “Molly”) Spencer (1881-1954), the former wife of Rear Admiral The Hon. Lionel Forbes-Sempill (1877-1962) was not liked by his children and family friends were sadly made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.  As the new chatelaine of Broadlands, “Molly” immediately started to make changes and redecorate at Broadlands and Edwina was subsequently dispatched to The Links School, in Eastbourne, East Sussex.  In 1919, Edwina was sent to Alde House, a finishing school in Aldeburgh, Suffolk and after a year, it was agreed in the family that she would live with her wealthy Cassel grandfather.  For Edwina, her step-mother made it obvious that she did not want Edwina.  Sadly her father was too busy with his political work - so this arrangement seemed the best for all concerned, especially Edwina.

The Rt Hon. Sir Ernest Cassel -

Edwina’s grandfather

Cassel was famous for his lavish parties, and Edwina became his hostess – she was in her element and she soon became renowned in society (even through World War I (1914-1918)) as one of the most interesting (and richest) of debutantes in London’s society.  Inevitably at one of these society parties – Edwina met her future husband, the young Lord Louis Mountbatten at Claridge’s Hotel, London. They were introduced by Alice, Mrs Cornelius Vanderbilt (1845-1934).  They met again at the Cowes Regatta on the Isle of Wight and they attended the numerous parties throughout the society week.  Shortly afterwards, Mountbatten introduced Edwina to his parents. Lord Milford Haven (Mountbatten’s father) said to his son at the time “Edwina is the most charming and remarkable girl of this generation I have met.  She’s got intelligence, character, everything.  If you decide to marry her, you have my whole-hearted approval.”

The Links School, Eastbourne

Early Years

Mountbatten intended to propose marriage in September 1921 – but the death of his father changed his plans. Within days of the death of Mountbatten’s father, Cassel died and left his young granddaughter an estate (including his Brook House mansion) of the value of over £7 million. Mountbatten decided against making a proposal, having been dissuaded by his mother with the thought that he was no longer in Edwina’s league as a poorly paid Naval officer.  Mountbatten decided to accept the invitation from his cousin “David” (Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales - subsequently King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) and later the Duke of Windsor) to accompany him on his tour of India and Japan, in an effort to give him some distance from Edwina.

Brook House, London

Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma


1922 - Marriage to Mountbatten