In The Crown, they make a point about the Prince of Wales’ many relationships but strangely they do not mention Amanda Knatchbull, who he proposed to shortly after Mounbatten’s death. Mountbatten was Charles’ great uncle and mentor, who was murdered by the IRA. Episode one of the Netflix drama depicts that terrible day when he was out with his family on a boat and a bomb exploded.
The explosive killed Mountbatten himself, his 14-year-old grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, a 15-year old schoolboy who was helping out as a bootboy and the 83-year-old Dowager Lady Brabourne.
Nicholas’ twin brother, father and mother ‒ who was Mountbatten’s daughter ‒ survived with serious injuries.
Not long after this incident, Charles asked Nicholas’ sister Amanda to marry him, but she declined.
Mountbatten had suggested the match as early as 1974, according to Jonathan Dimbleby’s 1994 book ‘The Prince of Wales: A Biography’.
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Prince Charles proposed to Amanda Knatchbull (left) shortly after Lord Mountbatten’s death
Lord Mountbatten out fishing with his family
Charles wrote to Amanda’s mother Patricia Brabourne, who was also his godmother, expressing interest in her daughter.
Lady Brabourne replied approvingly, but she suggested that a courtship with the 16-year-old should wait until she was older.
Four years later, Mountbatten arranged for Amanda and himself to accompany Charles on his 1980 tour of India, but both Amanda and Charles’ fathers objected.
Prince Philip feared that Charles would be overshadowed by his famous uncle, who had served as the last British Viceroy and first Governor-General of India.
Prince Charles with his great uncle and mentor Lord Mountbatten
Meanwhile, Lord Brabourne warned that a joint visit would concentrate too much media attention on Amanda and Charles before they could decide whether to be a couple or not.
Instead, it was decided that Charles would go to India alone.
However, shortly before the trip, Mountbatten was killed by the IRA, devastating both families.
When Charles returned, he proposed to Amanda, perhaps wanting to fulfil his great uncle’s wishes.
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Josh O’Conner as Prince Charles in The Crown
However, Amanda was still grieving for her younger brother Nicholas, as well as her grandfather Lord Mountbatten and grandmother, the Dowager Lady Brabourne.
What’s more, the attack has scared her off and she was now reluctant to join the core Royal Family.
In The Crown, the Royal Family are seen struggling with the grief of losing Lord Mountbatten, especially Prince Charles who viewed him as a surrogate father, due to his strained relationship with his actual father Philip.
The Netflix drama suggests that it was Mountbatten’s last phone call and last letter to Charles that pushed him into choosing Lady Diana Spencer as his bride, setting in motion the tumultuous events of the next two decades.
Philip, who also saw Mountbatten as a father figure ‒ as his own father abandoned the family when he was young ‒ is also shown to be deeply upset by the loss.
Mountbatten’s assassination took place on August 27, 1979 in County Sligo, Ireland.
This terror attack was coordinated with a simultaneous attack on Warrenpoint in Northern Ireland, which resulted in 18 soldiers dying and one civilian.
That was the bloodiest day for the British Army during The Troubles.
In June 1980, Charles officially turned down Chevening House, placed at his disposal since 1974, as his future residence.
Chevening, a stately home in Kent, was bequeathed, along with an endowment, to the Crown by the last Earl Stanhope, Amanda’s childless great-uncle, in the hope that Charles would one day occupy it.
‘The Prince of Wales: A Biography’ was written by Jonathan Dimbleby and published by BCA in 1994. It is available here.