Netflix's The Crown has been responsible for telling the stories of some pretty fascinating royal family dramas over the years, and it looks like season four is set to be no exception. Specifically, season four, which is released on Netflix on 15 November, will feature a royal family member who had an open marriage, decades before it became more commonly spoken about.
Lord Mountbatten has appeared in all three seasons of The Crown so far, and he makes a comeback in season four - but sadly only for one episode, as the drama documents his assassination by an IRA bomb in 1979. Details of Lord Mountbatten's open marriage remain untouched by The Crown, but it's been widely reported that in real life he did enjoy an open relationship with his wife, Edwina.
Who was Lord Mountbatten?
Lord Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten was a British Royal Navy officer and 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
He was also the uncle of Prince Philip and second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II (the Queen and Prince Philip are related, both being great-great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria). It's been suggested that Prince William and Kate Middleton may have named their youngest son, Louis, after the late Lord Mountbatten.
He appears in seasons one, two and three of The Crown, known by the nickname 'Dickie' (played by Greg Wise in the first two seasons, and then Charles Dance), where we see his particularly close relationship with Prince Charles blossom, as he becomes a mentor to the young prince.
Was Lord Mountbatten in an open marriage?
Lord Mountbatten married Lady Edwina Ashley Mountbatten in 1922. While their marriage doesn't really feature in The Crown, the character does gesture to their unusual relationship in the first episode of season two.
While the Queen is confiding in him about Prince Philip, Lord Mountbatten responds, "You married a wild spirit - we both did. Trying to tame them is no use."
Here, he's referring to Lady Edwina, who reportedly had various affairs before she and Lord Mountbatten came to the agreement to have an open marriage. As The Washington Post reports, "They would stay together with separate beds and, to some extent, separate lives. But they would remain loving, mutually supportive chums. Above all, they would be discreet."
According to The Times, Lord Mountbatten later claimed, "Edwina and I spent all our married lives getting into other people’s beds."
Lord Mountbatten is also thought by some historians to have been bisexual, having affairs with both men and women. The Times reports that Lord Mountbatten was in a relationship with a man for the last eight years of his life.
While maintaining their open marriage, Lord and Lady Mountbatten did have two daughters together, Patricia Knatchbull and Lady Pamela Hicks. Lady Mountbatten sadly died of unknown causes in her sleep in 1960, aged just 59.
The Crown series 4 starts on Netflix on 15 November.
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