21 Jun 2017

The Cassel Hospital pays tribute to Countess Mountbatten of Burma, former trustee and tireless supporter of the Cassel Hospital charity.

Countess Mountbatten at The Cassel Hospital – pictured with Prof Sir Simon Wessely

Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who has died aged 93, was one of the three survivors of the IRA bomb that blew up her father’s fishing boat Shadow V, off the coast of Sligo in August 1979.

Earl Mountbatten, 79, her 14-year-old son, Nicholas, and 15-year-old Paul Maxwell, an Irish boy crewing for them, were killed instantly. Lady Mountbatten’s mother-in-law, the 83-year-old dowager Lady Brabourne, died shortly afterwards.

Patricia Edwina Victoria Mountbatten was the elder daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who in 1947 was appointed Viceroy of India and his wife, Edwina (nee Ashley). Lady Mountbatten was a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria; she was a cousin of the Duke of Edinburgh and related to many of the royal families of Europe.

Perhaps what is less well known is that both she and her family beforehand have played central roles in founding the original Cassel Hospital and supporting the Cassel over the years; she was also the Great Granddaughter of Sir Earnest Cassel, who founded the Cassel in 1919. More recently  and largely through her work as a trustee, the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust raised £3.5m to fund the building of the Children’s centre, (1995) and the Family’s Unit (2000).

Clinical lead for the Cassel and chair of the Cassel Hospital Charitable Trust, Dr Oliver Dale said:
“We were all deeply saddened to hear of the death of Countess Mountbatten of Burma, who has been an inspiration and stalwart supporter of the hospital for well over 50 years.”

He added, “The generosity of Sir Ernest Cassel, together with the on-going commitment from Lady Mountbatten and her family, played a very key role in the establishment of this institution, its evolution and its culture. The family’s generosity has supported our survival at times of need and helped us to continue the work that we all so strongly believe in.”

Countess Mountbatten’s daughter, Lady Joanna Knatchbull continues the family tradition of involvement with the Cassel and is a trustee of the charitable trust.