First gay wedding in the royal family: Lord Ivan Mountbatten will be given away by his ex-wife Penny at the ceremony

Lord Ivar and James are set to be wed later this summer in a private chapel. His ex-wife is extremely supportive of his union and is actually going to give him away at the ceremony

                            First gay wedding in the royal family: Lord Ivan Mountbatten will be given away by his ex-wife Penny at the ceremony
(Source:Getty Images)

Let the wedding bells ring, for there’s another royal wedding right around the corner. This time it is a gay wedding.

Lord Ivar Mountbatten, son of the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven and cousin to Queen Elizabeth is all set to marry his new beau James Coyle. Though this sounds like a happy ending for them now, Lord Ivar’s story is not one without struggle. Two years ago, Lord Ivar came out and confessed that he had been struggling with his sexuality for most of his 16-year marriage to his former wife Penny. It was only after he met Coyle that he decided to come out and be his true self. 

Lord Ivar and James are set to be wed later this summer in a private chapel. Needless to say, it will be the first same-sex marriage in the extended royal family. Lord Ivar also has three daughters with his ex-wife who Coyle too loves dearly. He told Daily Mail: “We really are a funny threesome.” “Not in that way.”

"I loved Penny when we were married, as I still do very much, and I loved our family unit,' he says. 'I never thought this would happen. It's brilliant, but I never thought I'd marry a man." Though he is joking about the situation, Lord Ivar is truly grateful that things have worked out for him so well, reported the website. His ex-wife is extremely supportive of his union, so much so that she is actually going to give her former husband away at the ceremony.

“It was the girls' idea,” says Penny.


Lord Ivar Mountbatten attend the drinks reception hosted by Dockers the San Francisco (Getty Images)

The royal's ex-wife is handling the situation with much poise and warmth. Her response when asked if she felt weird giving her ex-husband away to another man, showcases her pure heart. “What I don't think Ivar realizes is how much he has changed as a man since he 'came out'. James is hugely responsible for that because he's so much fun.

“Ivar is so much more relaxed these days. He's so much kinder. He's become a great cook. I now call him Fanny Cradock. He probably wasn't even aware that by keeping his sexuality a secret it was really quite tormenting him. Now it's 'out' he's a completely different person. Everybody says they've never seen him happier.”

Penny bears no ill will, she, in fact, admits to finding Coyle extremely agreeable to her from the first time they were introduced and Lord Ivar, in turn, admits that he finds both Coyle and his ex-wife quite similar in many ways, a fact which Coyle finds difficult to accept. Interestingly, it was the senior royal who broached the subject of marriage. "I really wanted to do it for James," he says. "He hasn't been married."

Though the wedding is the first of its kind in the extended Royal Family, it seems to have everyone’s blessing.

When Lord Ivar first came out to his daughter Ella, 22, she responded, “Oh Pap, it's not a big deal. It's so normal nowadays.” “All my good friends have accepted James. I basically told everyone: 'I've found somebody — it's a bloke,” Lord Ivar jokes.

One of his friends even said: “If I was gay, I'd certainly go for him.” Lord Ivar’s lifelong friend Prince Edward, to whose eldest child he is a godparent, too is truly happy for him. However, he will be unable to make it for the wedding. There seems to be a lot of love going around the Royal Family at the moment, and Lord Ivar’s words are evidence enough.

In September 2016, in an interview to DailyMail, the cousin to the Queen revealed his struggle to come out. He had 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."

Coyle is an airline cabin services director. The pair met in Swiss resort Verbier when James shouted 'Hello!' to Ivar in a bar, mistaking him for a guide with whom he had skied. It was a chance encounter but the attraction was immediate and mutual.

Lord Ivar married Penny in 1994 and they settled in the Mountbattens' Elizabethan pile, Moyns Park, on the Essex-Suffolk border. He had known from his teens that he was bisexual but reveals: 'I just did not want to go there because there would have been so much grief. I never thought I would get married because I didn't want to be untruthful. Penny was aware before we got married. I told her I was bisexual, that my attraction went both ways. She was understanding and I will always be grateful to her. We had a lot of fun, we have three fabulous daughters and I don't regret any stage of my life."

In the case of  Coyle, he had been raised in a modest Catholic family in Glasgow. Despite the difference in their social origins he faced the same problems of identification like Lord Ivar and ended up doing the same thing his partner did and he too tried to lead a heterosexual lifestyle.

About coming to terms with his sexuality, Coyle said in the interview: "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 even had girlfriends as I tried to work out what I wanted to be. It was not an easy time in my teens or 20s. I'm just so pleased now to have found someone who I am happy to call my partner. My work involves a lot of travel. For the first time I have had someone to come home to."