Queen Elizabeth II, Lord Ivan Mountbatten, English, royal, gay, Britain, UK

Meet Lord Ivar Mountbatten, the First Openly Gay/Bisexual Royal Family Member

Lord Ivar Mountbatten is Queen Elizabeth II’s third cousin once removed, which means that he shares .391 percent of his DNA with the monarch currently reigning as a figurehead over the United Kingdom and other random places (like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other Commonwealth territories). Lord Mountbatten also recently came out as a gay-bisexual (a nuanced identity) which means that he’s the first member of the extended Royal Family to officially come out — you can even see a photo of him and his boyfriend James Coyle, just don’t expect any big shows of affection; they’re not big on those.

Queen Elizabeth II, Lord Ivan Mountbatten, English, royal, gay, Britain, UK, family tree, chart, third cousin once removed
Here’s a chart in case you’re confused about what a third cousin once removed is…

Mountbatten married a woman named Penny in 1994 and told her that he was bisexual. They had three daughters and as time went on, Penny “did not feel sufficiently loved”; the two divorced in 2011. After their split, he had a same-sex encounter in 2014 and then came out in The Daily Mail, though he specifies that he’s “still not 100 per cent comfortable with being gay”. The queer women’s site Autostraddle notes, “the nuance of his using both labels [gay and bisexual] does not seem to be reflected in most coverage of him” as most LGBT sites have simply called Mountbatten “gay.”

While we consider the whole Royal Family thing a wanky aristocratic holdover from imperialist days, Lord Mountbatten’s coming out is a big deal because it will possibly get U.K. folks talking about the U.K.’s LGBT rights issues — same-sex marriage, for example is still illegal in Northern Ireland and many of the U.K.’s overseas territories still lack same-sex unions, adoption rights and laws protecting gender identity.

Also, while Lord Mountbatten is the first openly gay extended member of the Royal Family, England has had several gay, lesbian and bisexual monarchs in the past, so we shouldn’t think that the bloodline was completely heterosexual until now. The only difference is that past royals didn’t announce their sexual identities.

Interestingly, The Daily Mail reports that Mountbatten and his partner are not big on PDA:

Both Lord Ivar and James grew up in an age when to be gay was to conform to what they call ‘a John Inman stereotype’, something they are determined to avoid. They have a pact: no public displays of affection unless it’s a hello or goodbye hug, never holding hands and no dancing together at parties. Today there are no endearments or pet names. ‘Soppy? Ugh, no, not us,’ says James.

No terms of endearment or pet names? God save those queens.

  • Will Kohler

    Bi wasn’t used because Mountbatten identified himself as gay. His Royal lineage and his age points to a time where he had to hide in the closest and deny his true feelings and had no choice as many older men had to. To mislabel him as bi just because he was married and had a child after he himself declared that he is gay is as bad as mislabeling a bi-sexual person as “gay”