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The story of Lord Ivar Mountbatten – the Queen’s cousin who is the first openly gay royal

In September 2016, Lord Ivar Mountbatten became the first member of the extended British Royal fam­ily to openly come out as gay.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday at the time of his disclosure, Lord Ivar said: “Being a Mountbatten was never the problem it was the generation into which I was born. When I was growing up, it was known as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, but what’s amazing now is how far we have all come in terms of acceptance.

“Coming out is such a funny phrase but it’s what I suppose I did in a rather roundabout way, emerging to a place I’m happy to be. I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point.

“I was driven into the closet by not wanting to come to terms with who I was and facing friends and family in the early years. I buried it.

“I’m just so pleased now to have found someone who I am happy to call my partner.”

Fast forward four years and Lord Ivar is happily married to his husband, James Coyle.

The couple wed in 2019 in a small private ceremony that took place in a chapel at his Grade-I listed home, Bridwell, in Devon.

Lord Ivar was previously married to Penelope Thompson until their divorce in 2011.

Ivar and Penny had three daughters together, and despite splitting up, remain very good friends.

At Ivar’s wedding to James last year, Penny acted as her ex-husband’s best man in a display of her fullest and unwavering support.

Ivar Alexander Michael Mountbatten is a great-great-great grandchild of Queen Victoria and a direct descendant of Catherine the Great of Russia. He is related to both The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh through his father, David Mountbatten, the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven.

In an interview with Tatler earlier this year, Lord Ivar reflected on becoming the first extended royal to come out as gay.

When asked whether his decision to come out was good for The Royal Family, he said: “Well, you would hope so – but then they don’t really talk about it. I mean, the royals, they don’t communicate very well.”

Just a few years ago, it would have been unimaginable for a royal to come out as gay and to marry somebody of the same sex.

However, the age-old institution of the monarchy is slowly catching up with the rest of society for the better.

In an interview last year, the Duke of Cambridge said that he would “fully support” his children if they were gay, but admitted he was worried about the pressures they might face.

He said: “I wish we lived in a world where it’s really normal and cool, but particularly for my family, and the position that we are in, that’s the bit I am nervous about.”