QUEER VOICES

Queen's Cousin Comes Out As The First Openly Gay Royal

"It has been a real journey to reach this point,” said Lord Ivar Mountbatten.

19/09/2016 3:33 AM AEST | Updated September 19, 2016 03:33
David M. Benett via Getty Images
Lord Ivar Mountbatten, who is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, has announced that he is gay and in a relationship with another man. 

Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, has become the first member of the extended British royal family to come out as gay.

The 53-year-old, who has three children with his ex-wife, Penny Thompson, found love with a man he met during a ski trip, he told London’s Mail on Sunday.

“I am a lot happier now, though I am still not 100 percent comfortable with being gay,” he said.

“’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 told the outlet. “I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point.”

Mountbatten, who is the son of the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven and godfather to Price Edward’s eldest child, said he has known since his teens that he was bisexual. Thompson was also aware of his sexuality when they married in 1994.

“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,” he said.

The couple divorced in 2011 and Mountbatten had a “gay fling” in the ensuing years, he told the Mail. But he never felt comfortable enough to come out about his sexuality until recently, when he met 54-year-old airline cabin services director James Coyle.

The pair was skiing in Verbier, Switzerland when a chance encounter at a bar changed their lives forever.

They immediately hit it off and exchanged phone numbers, they both recalled. Coyle was already open about his sexuality, having come out after his mother’s death in 2003. If this relationship was to continue, Coyle declared that it could not be in secret.

“If I was going to be with him, it had to be in the open with friends and family. I wanted us to be honest, not to hide anything, not to be anything else,” Coyle told the Mail.

Mountbatten agreed, first speaking with his family, who “could not be more supportive,” he said.

The couple decided to come forward to the media after receiving inquires into their personal lives, they told the newspaper.

In June, Prince William also made history by becoming the first royal to appear on the cover of a gay magazine.

His photo spread on the U.K.’s Attitude Magazine followed joint efforts by his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, and his brother, Prince Harry, to address mental health issues and fight bullying that can come with it.

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