The unconventional marriage of Louis Mountbatten and Edwina Mountbatten was glimpsed by Andrew Lownie in his new book. Edwina Mountbatten was known to be temperamentally different from her husband and had various lovers including India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
A naval officer named Louis Mountbatten fell for Edwina and proposed to a fabulously affluent lady in Delhi in 1922. When they got to know each other for a few months, they both were in their 20s and decided to spend their lives together.
The day after Edwina accepted the proposal, her fiancé diarized how they had motored out to King Humayun’s huge tomb, which they saw at 3 am by moonlight. It was all “wonderful and romantic”, and, a month later, they made another trip to the 16th-century mausoleum. That time, still, the bride-to-be was less impressed. Talking about her, Louis wrote that Edwina had just…seen the Taj Mahal and was full of hatred for this poor little statue.
What the book is about
In some concerns, the occurrence is nostalgic of the heady but also incompatible marriage that lay along, a liable explored delectably in The Mountbattens: Their Lives And Loves by Andrew Lownie. The book’s subtitle explains the situation. On the one hand, husband and wife indicated greatly varied personalities and characters, Mountbatten was Queen Victoria’s great-grandson, and while he carried a title, his purse was little. Whereas Edwina was the granddaughter of a Jewish banker, who left her such a huge legacy that she reaped in a month ten times what her husband earned in a year. He was systematic and precise to the point of being difficult; his guests were instructed with precise manners to consume even strawberries, while she was all zest and spontaneity.
It didn’t take too long, then, for burdens in the relationship to arise. In populace, Mountbatten established an impressive personality and prestige for leadership, but, in personal, Dickie (as he was called) realized this came more normally to his attractive wife, in whose eyes he was a yawn. While he sailed off to make his career, rejoicing in uniforms and pageantry, Edwina evolved into something of a poor little rich girl who made merry her time away even as she strived for something approximating objective. Mountbatten first got to know about her lovers in1925, and over the successive decades, there would be several more. More than one time, an unhappy wife carried Edwina to court for her approaches with married men, even as society was scandalized by her relationship with Leslie Hutchinson, a musician who also came about to be black.
But as we understand from Lownie, Mountbatten learned to peek at marriage unsentimental. By 1929, it was determined that Edwina was independent to immerse in her romances so long as it was accomplished quietly, and in 1932 he carried a mistress himself. Your girl is sweet and I like her, “jotted down Edwina to her husband, before taking the “girl” out for lunch. Both had transcontinental relationships: Lady Mountbatten was at one time beholding one of her husband’s personnel, while he, administering British naval activities in South-East Asia, took up with another worker. Once again, India played a role. It was a true godsend for her when he found her in Delhi wrote Mountbatten to his girlfriend in 1943. Certainly, much of Lownie’s biography could have jeopardized being considered gossip, were it not for the validity that the Mountbattens left mountains of paper cataloging their romantic mastery.
World War II was instrumental in establishing the careers of both Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten. She hurled herself into a volunteer job, eventually amassing fulfillment, while his naval successes defined him as a senior figure in the empire, of course, choreographed feats, astute dealing of the press, and the brandishing of royal alliances relieved the way.
In 1945, when Edwina lived with the viceroy in Delhi, she found his estate unlivable. It was a chaotic time in the Mountbattens’ relationship too. The viceroy was immersed in work (though he however found time to sunbathe naked in Kashmir) while his wife met tough menopause. He had limited time for her, while she started to feel again a feeling of inadequacy. It was at this moment that Edwina met Jawaharlal Nehru, a section of Lownie’s book that will stimulate extraordinary interest in India. That they got ahead is known, but precisely how adequately may astonish many.
After saying goodbye one time, for example, Edwina wrote to Nehru that she hated seeing you drive off this morning, he has left her with a strange sense of peace. Perhaps she has brought him the same.
They believe that their relationship is a very spiritual one, and Lownie asserts that Edwina ultimately found in Nehru what her husband came across to lack. She clearly expressed as much: “You have brought me,” she wrote, “all I was yearning for.”
The relationship of the Mountbattens came with numerous ups and downs. But in a time when men commonly monopolized their wives, Edwina’s intense independence and Mountbatten’s alacrity to accept her for who she was prepared this a coalition of mutual interest. They complement one another, and she supported his career materially. And for all their loves and extremely different lives, their letters indicate that they however quite adored one another.