How Not to Bring Up Royals: The Dark Hand Behind the Queen’s Bad Parenting
LONDON—On August 21, 1979, Lord Louis Mountbatten, second cousin of Queen Elizabeth, was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army. Mountbatten was the highest-ranking victim of the IRA during what was known as The Troubles and his death caused widespread outrage: a radio-controlled bomb blew him up as he left on a small boat for a tuna fishing trip from the small Northern Irish harbor of Mullaghmore, also killing two of his grandchildren.
At the time the IRA defended its action by painting Mountbatten as a symbol of a whole generation of British imperialism: They said the assassination was “one of the discriminate ways we can bring to the attention of the English people the continuing occupation of our country.”
Gerry Adams, vice-president of Sinn-Fein (maintaining the party’s technical distinction of not being an official part of the IRA) was blunter: “What the IRA did to him is what Mountbatten had been doing all his life to other people.” That was a highly contestable view. For sure, as the last viceroy and first governor general of India Mountbatten had enjoyed the final vestiges of British imperial power but he was far from being a despot.