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Website Last Updated - 06 Feb 2016

(from Sept 2006)

Vicereine of India

Edwina - Vicereine of India

On 20th March 1947, the Mountbattens left London for India, to enable Mountbatten to take up the post of Viceroy of India. Edwina had encouraged Mountbatten to take the job, for she had fallen in love with India as a young girl and the prospect of being Vicereine was yet a further challenge.  Of course Edwina rose to this challenge with the same vigour and determination she showed throughout her life.  She was the first Vicereine of India to be more widely known in her own right.

The Mountbattens set to the role immediately and entered into dialogue with all the Indian leaders. At one particular public meeting between the Mountbattens and Indian spiritual leader Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948), as the aged man turned - he put his arm on Edwina’s shoulder to assist him with his walking.  This simple act of friendship immediately captivated the people and it was seen as an encouraging gesture which signified peaceful dialogue.

Edwina with Mohandas K. Gandhi

Insignia of the

Imperial Order

of the Crown of India

Insignia of a

Dame Grand Cross

of the British Empire

Against the background of Mountbatten’s plans to bring down the curtain on the British Raj, Edwina set to work, bringing relief and support to thousands who were unsettled  by the prospect of a divided India.  An American reporter said of Edwina - “what can one say of this amazing Englishwoman who goes among the poor and the sick and the suffering like some latter-day Mary Magdalene?”  As Vicereine, Edwina was awarded in 1947 the Imperial Order of the Crown of India (C.I.) - an order of which Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-    ) is the last surviving recipient, and appointed a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (G.B.E.).  Unlike her husband, Edwina thought that titles, medals and honours were a bore, however she was proud of the service they honoured.

Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma

Vicereine of India 2