The Prince of Wales has released a statement following the death of his godmother, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who has died at the age of 93.
On Wednesday evening, Prince Charles said: “I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of my very special godmother, Lady Mountbatten whom I have known and loved ever since I can first remember.
“She played an extremely important part in my life and I shall miss her presence most dreadfully.”
The Countess was the Prince’s last surviving godmother, and was first cousin to The Duke of Edinburgh and extended cousin to The Queen.
Countess Mountbatten of Burma was born on 14 February 1924 as the eldest of Louis Mountbatten, later the 1st Earl of Mountbatten of Burma and uncle to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Through her father, she was a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria.
Her family was struck by tragedy in 1979 when her 79-year-old father, mother-in-law and her 14-year-old son Nicholas were killed off the coast of Sligo after the IRA detonated gelignite which had been hidden under the floorboards of their boat. The Countess was also on board, but she survived the blast along with her husband and their other son Timothy. An Irish schoolboy, who was helping out on the boat, was also killed. By special remainder, she subsequently succeeded her father as Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
In 2008, she recalled the tragedy in an interview with the Telegraph: “My own memory is of a vision of a ball exploding upwards and then of ‘coming to’ in the sea and wondering if I would be able to reach the surface before I passed out. I have very vague memories, now and again, of floating among the wood and debris, being pulled into a small rubber dinghy before totally losing consciousness for days.”
She was devasted at the loss of her son and said, “As anyone whose child dies will know only too well, this news utterly devastated me. In fact, I was so overwhelmed by grief for Nicky, who was just on the threshold of his life, that I began to feel guilty that I was not able to grieve for my father, whom I really adored, in the same way. But the world was mourning him, and there was a comfort in knowing that.”