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Website Last Updated - 06 Feb 2016

(from Sept 2006)

Vicereine of India Pg 2

At the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947 - India became separated into the Dominions of India and Pakistan, two separate nations and Mountbatten was no longer Viceroy. Mountbatten (the great-grandson of Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) had brought an end to the British Empire. He did however accept the offer of the post of the first Governor-General of India, and of course Mountbatten and Edwina remained in India. During this period, Mountbatten’s wife - always referred to as “Lady Louis” continued her efforts working with refugees and earned the undying love of the people for her untiring devotion. She would go from camp to camp, hospital to hospital and personally would intervene in an effort to improve sanitation.

When Mountbatten’s term of office as Governor-General ended in June 1948, Nehru praised the Mountbattens in a very eloquent speech at their farewell banquet. Of Edwina he said -“the Gods or some good fairy gave you beauty and high intelligence, and grace and charm and vitality - great gifts - and she who possesses them is a great lady wherever she goes.  But unto those that have even more shall be given: and they gave you something that was even rarer than those gifts - the human touch, the love of humanity, the urge to serve those who suffer and who are in distress. And this amazing mixture of qualities results in a radiant personality and in the healer’s touch.” Mountbatten’s Chief of Staff, General The Rt Hon Sir Hastings “Pug” Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay, KG, GCB, CH, DSO (1887–1965) said of Edwina - “she had the missionary zeal of Florence Nightingale and the dedicated courage of Joan of Arc.”

Edwina, Mountbatten

and their daughter - Pamela

in the gardens of the Vice-regal Lodge

Edwina with Nehru

at the Mountbattens’ farewell dinner

Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma

The Mountbattens departing India

In Edwina ‘s farewell broadcast to the people of India, she ended this emotional and personal speech - “Although in a physical sense my husband, Pamela and I will be leaving India so soon, we shall always be with you in spirit, and I think you know you will have our affection, our gratitude and our prayers at all times.  The close links of comradeship that have been forged between us are such that can never be broken, and I know that it is inevitable that I shall return.  So this is not farewell, but only ‘au revoir’.”

The Final Years