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The Final Years

Following their return from India, Edwina (now The Countess Mountbatten of Burma) was not happy.  She loved India, and its people and she was saddened at the continuing disharmony throughout the country.  In addition, she no longer saw Nehru everyday - he was now Prime Minister of India, but they remained close, continually writing to each other.  Mountbatten had also returned to the Royal Navy - a condition he imposed upon his appointment as Viceroy, and once again Edwina was faced with returning to Malta, being a Naval Officer’s wife. Edwina subsequently arranged her life so that she could visit India (and Nehru) and used her positions with the St John’s Ambulance Brigade and British Red Cross to ensure that any visit towards the Far East included a visit to New Dehli, and Edwina’s timetable increased year by year.


Nehru with Edwina in later life

By 1957, Edwina saw a heart specialist and it was confirmed that her cardiac condition was poor and would only deteriorate if she continued to work as hard as she had, and that she should reduce her workload immediately.  In 1958, Edwina suffered a minor stroke, which temporarily affected her face. Edwina told people that she had dental treatment, but did not appear in public for weeks.  Just when her health seemed to improve, Edwina contracted chicken-pox from one her grandchildren and sadly never regained her strength. She went to India in January 1959 for a complete rest, but despite all the warnings she continued to carry out her scheduled tours throughout Canada and the USA.


 


Edwina with Nehru

Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma

On 16th November 1959, Edwina delivered a tribute speech at a dinner to celebrate Nehru’s 70th birthday.  Despite remaining in contact throughout their lives, this dinner would be the one of the last times they would meet.

1960 - Death