Lord Ivar Mountbatten Becomes The First Openly Gay Royal

Lord  Ivar Mountbatten Becomes The First Openly Gay Royal

  • History has been made in the royal family! And we have a gay family member now

Queen Elizabeth II's 53-year-old cousin, Lord Ivar Mountbatten, has become the first member of the British royal family to come out as gay—though he wouldn't necessarily call it "coming out."

Mountbatten opened up about his lifelong struggle with his sexuality in an extensive interview with The Daily Mail.

"'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," he said. "I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point."

Though he says it was not his family name that made it difficult, but rather the period of time in which he was raised. "It was the generation into which I was born," he explained. "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."

In 1994, he chose to marry his now ex-wife Penny Thompson, with whom he shares three daughters. He admits he "never wanted to get married" because he "didn't want to be untruthful," but he was honest in telling her he was bisexual. Though she was understanding, she ultimately didn't feel the type of connection she hoped to have and the couple divorced in 2011.

Now, Mountbatten finds himself in a new relationship: with his partner, James Coyle, an airline cabin services director he met while on vacation. 

The pair both struggled in staying true to themselves growing up, admitting they often dated women while figuring it out.

"In different ways, we both struggled," Mountbatten said. "Now everyone in our family knows and could not be more supportive."

Coyle had a huge influence on helping his royal partner tell his family. "If I was going to be with him, it had to be in the open with friends and family," Coyle explained to the publication. "I wanted us to be honest, not to hide anything, not to be anything else."

Mountbatten is forever grateful for that.

"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," Mountbatten said. "I buried it...I'm just so pleased now to have found someone who I am happy to call my partner."

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