Edwina Cynthia Annette Ashley was born in 1901, the elder daughter of Wilfrid William Ashley, later 1st Baron Mount Temple (of the 1932 creation), who was a Conservative Member of Parliament. She was patrilineally descended from the Earls of Shaftesbury who had been ranked as baronets since 1622 and ennobled as barons in 1661. She was a great-granddaughter of the reformist 7th Earl of Shaftesbury through his younger son, the Hon. Evelyn Melbourne Ashley (1836–1907) and his wife, Sybella Farquhar (d. 1886), a granddaughter of the 6th Duke of Beaufort. From this cadet branch, the Ashley-Cooper peers would inherit the estates of Broadlands (Hampshire, England) and Classiebawn Castle (County Sligo, Ireland). Her mother was Amalia Mary Maud Cassel (1879–1911), daughter of the international magnate Sir Ernest Joseph Cassel, friend and private financier to the future King Edward VII. Cassel was one of the richest and most powerful men in Europe. He lost his wife, Annette Mary Maud Maxwell, for whom he had converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism, and he also lost his only child, Amalia. He was then to leave the bulk of his vast fortune to Edwina, his elder granddaughter.
After her father's remarriage in 1914 to Molly Forbes-Sempill, she was sent away to boarding schools, first to the Links in Eastbourne, then to Alde House in Suffolk, at neither of which was she a willing pupil. Her grandfather, Sir Ernest Cassel, solved the domestic dilemma by inviting her to live with him and, eventually, to act as hostess at his London residence, Brook House. Later, his other mansions, Moulton Paddocks and Branksome Dene, would become part of her Cassel inheritance.
By the time Lord Louis Mountbatten first met Edwina in 1920, she was a leading member of London society. Her maternal grandfather died in 1921, leaving her £2 million (£80 million in 2017 pounds), and his palatial London townhouse, Brook House, at a time when her future husband's naval salary was £610 per annum (£20 thousand in 2017). Later, she would inherit the country seat of Broadlands, Hampshire, from her father, Wilfrid William Ashley, 1st Baron Mount Temple.
She married Mountbatten on 18 July 1922 at St. Margaret's Church. The wedding attracted crowds of more than 8,000 people, and was attended by many members of the royal family, including Queen Mary, Queen Alexandra, David the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII), and dubbed "wedding of the year". The reception was held in Brook House after which the couple rode a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost to the bride's family's country house.
Lord and Lady Mountbatten had two daughters:
1. Lady Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, sometime lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II.
2. Lady Pamela Carmen Louise Mountbatten, who accompanied them to India in 1947–48 and was also sometime lady-in-waiting to the Queen.
Since Mountbatten had no sons, when he was created Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, of Romsey in the County of Southampton on 27 August 1946 and then Earl Mountbatten of Burma and Baron Romsey, in the County of Southampton on 28 October 1947, the Letters Patent were drafted such that in the event he left no sons or issue in the male line, the titles could pass to his daughters, in order of seniority of birth, and to their heirs respectively.
Lady Mountbatten died in her sleep at age 58 of unknown causes in 1960 in Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu), British North Borneo (now Sabah) while on an inspection tour for the St John Ambulance Brigade.
In accordance with her wishes, Lord Mountbatten buried her at sea off the coast of Portsmouth from HMS Wakeful on 25 February 1960; Indian Prime Minister Nehru sent two Indian destroyers to accompany her body; Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, officiated.
In 1979 her widower and three others were assassinated by an IRA bomb.
Wikipedia, Edwina Ashley, Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
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