The Queen’s cousin, Lord Ivar Mountbatten, is set to become the first person in the extended royal family to enter into gay marriage. The 55-year-old will tie the knot with James Coyle, an airline cabin services director, later this year in Devon. Ivar is the great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and the third cousin, once removed, of Queen Elizabeth II. He first met James while on a ski trip in Verbier, a luxury skiing village in Switzerland.
It won't be Ivar's first wedding, however. He was married to Penny Mountbatten for 16 years before they divorced in 2011. They have three daughters together (Ella, Alexandra and Louise), and so the exes have remained good friends since the split. They're so close that Penny will even walk Ivar down the aisle at his upcoming nuptials.
Photo: Lord Ivar and Penny Mountbatten
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Penny confirmed it was Ivar's attraction to men that brought their marriage to an end. "I married Ivar with a completely open heart and an open mind about sexuality. Ivar had told me he was bisexual before he proposed. I didn't have any fears about it because I loved him, and love conquers all, doesn't it?" she said. "What I hadn't realised is how jealous I would feel down the line when he was finding men attractive and how, ultimately, that made me feel that I wasn't good enough." She has since moved on, focussing largely on her business Penny Mountbatten London; an agency providing event management and brand representation. She is in a happy, long-term relationship and is very supportive of Ivar and James' relationship.
As for the upcoming wedding, it won't be an extravagant affair. “We'll be pronounced partners in marriage, but the ceremony itself will be very small. It's just for the girls and close family and friends,” James told the Daily Mail in the same interview. “Everyone else (about 120 friends) will arrive for the party afterwards. We'll have lovely food and really good music; but there won't be two men in tuxedos on a cake, white doves or anything twee or contrived like that.” Ivar added, "We'll probably have cheese, instead of cake."
No specific date has been announced, but the wedding is expected to take place towards the end of the summer. Then, in October, there'll be another royal wedding as Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank say "I do" on Friday, 12th October.
Photo: Kensington Palace via Instagram