Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma (m. 1946–2005)
Norton Knatchbull, 8th Baron Brabourne
Doreen Knatchbull, Baroness Brabourne, Michael Knatchbull, 5th Baron Brabourne
Death on the Nile, Romeo and Juliet, A Passage to India, Murder on the Orient Express, The Mirror Crack'd
Norton Knatchbull - 8th Baron, Patricia Knatchbull - 2nd Coun, Alexandra Knatchbull, Nicholas Knatchbull, Lady Amanda Ellingworth
9 November 1924 (age 80), London, United Kingdom
23 September 2005 (aged 80), Kent, United Kingdom
Second Countess Mountbatten of Burma weds Seventh Baron Brabourne John Knatchbull (1946)
John Ulick Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne, CBE (9 November 1924 – 23 September 2005), professionally known as John Brabourne, was a British peer, television producer and Oscar-nominated film producer. Married to a daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten, Brabourne was a survivor of the bombing which killed his father-in-law.
- Second Countess Mountbatten of Burma weds Seventh Baron Brabourne John Knatchbull 1946
- War and inheritance
- Career and service
- The IRA bombing
- Styles of address
Brabourne was born in 1924, the second son of Michael Knatchbull, 5th Baron Brabourne and his wife, Lady Doreen Knatchbull. He was educated at Eton College and Brasenose College, Oxford. He was hardly 14 when his father died in February 1939 and his elder brother, Norton, inherited the Barony.
War and inheritance
The Second World War broke out just as Brabourne was finishing school, and he enlisted in the armed forces. He served in the Coldstream Guards, rising to the rank of Captain. He fought in France from 1944 onwards. In 1943, his elder brother, Norton, a Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards, was wounded and captured in Italy. While being transported to Germany as a POW, he tried escape, but was captured and executed by the SS on 15 September 1943. Since he died childless, his barony passed to his younger brother, John Knatchbull, who became the 7th Lord Brabourne.
At the end of the war, Brabourne returned to England and settled in the family seat, Mersham in Kent. On 26 October 1946, at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, at the age of 21, he married Patricia Mountbatten, eldest daughter of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Viscount Mountbatten, later 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Brabourne's best man at the wedding was Squadron Leader Charles Harris-St. John.
Lady Brabourne was to inherit her father's peerages in due course. This would make Lord and Lady Brabourne among the few married couples to each hold peerages in their own right. Also, Lady Brabourne was related to the British royal family, and her aunt Louise Mountbatten was at that time the Crown Princess (later Queen) of Sweden. In February 1947, only months after the wedding, Brabourne's father-in-law was appointed Viceroy of India. The newly-wed couple spent several months in India, residing with her parents in the viceregal palace. In November the same year, Lady Brabourne's first cousin Philip, Duke of Edinburgh wed Princess Elizabeth, future Queen of the United Kingdom.
Lord and Lady Brabourne had eight children:
Career and service
In the late 1940s, shortly after leaving the army, Brabourne began working as an assistant production manager for certain television productions, mostly based on war-related themes. He graduated to the role of production manager by the early 1950s, and finally became a producer in his own right in 1958, with Harry Black a romantic story set in India, with war as the distant context. This was followed by Sink the Bismarck! in 1960. War, Empire and India were recurrent themes in his work, and A Passage to India (1984) is among his most acclaimed works. His filmography also includes Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Death on the Nile (1978), and Little Dorrit (1988).
In 1970, he founded Mersham Productions, a production house named after his family seat in Kent, which produced many of his works thereafter. He served as a director of Thames Television (later Chairman) and Euston Films from 1978 to 1995, and a director of Thorn EMI from 1981 to 1986.
John Brabourne received two Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, as producer of Romeo and Juliet (1968) and A Passage to India. In 1979, Brabourne was invested as a Fellow of the British Film Institute. In 1993, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1990 when he was surprised by Michael Aspel.
Despite a busy career, Brabourne was also a country gentleman, and took his local responsibilities seriously. He served as a governor of various schools, including Norton Knatchbull School (founded by an ancestor c.1630 AD) from 1947 to 2000; Wye Agricultural College in Kent from 1955 to 2000, and Gordonstoun School from 1964 to 1994. He also served as Pro-Chancellor of the University of Kent from 1993 to 1999.
The IRA bombing
On 27 August 1979, while the family was on holiday in Mullaghmore, County Sligo, Lord Brabourne's father-in-law, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, took a number of family members out lobstering on his motorboat, Shadow V, in Donegal Bay. Having planned to murder Mountbatten, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) placed a bomb inside the boat on the night of the 26th. Mountbatten and several members of the party were killed the next morning when the bomb was triggered by an IRA observer onshore who was armed with a radio detonator. The dead included Brabourne's 83-year-old mother, the Dowager Baroness Brabourne, one of his twin 14-year-old sons, Nicholas Knatchbull, and a local boy, 15-year-old Paul Maxwell from County Fermanagh who had been hired for the summer as Mountbatten's boat boy. Brabourne, his wife Patricia, and their other twin son Timothy were severely injured, but survived the attack.
Lord Brabourne died in 2005 at his home in Kent at the age of 80. He was survived by his wife and their seven remaining children.