The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves
Andrew Lownie

The Mountbattens: Their Lives and Loves

The intimate story of a unique marriage that spans the heights of glamour and power to infidelity, manipulation and disaster through the heart of the 20th century.

DICKIE MOUNTBATTEN: A major figure behind his nephew Philip's marriage to Queen Elizabeth II and instrumental in the Royal Family taking the Mountbatten name, he was Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia during World War II and the last Viceroy of India.

EDWINA MOUNTBATTEN: Once the richest woman in Britain and a playgirl who enjoyed numerous affairs, she emerged from World War II as a magnetic and talented humanitarian worker loved around the­ world.

From British high society to the South of France, from the battlefields of Burma to the Viceroy's House, The Mountbattens is a rich and filmic story of a powerful partnership, revealing the truth behind a carefully curated legend.

Was Mountbatten one of the outstanding leaders of his generation, or a man over-promoted because of his royal birth, high-level connections, film-star looks and ruthless self-promotion? What is the true story behind controversies such as the Dieppe Raid and Indian Partition, the love affair between Edwina and Nehru, and Mountbatten's assassination in 1979?

Based on over 100 interviews, research from dozens of archives and new information released under Freedom of Information requests, prize-winning historian Andrew Lownie sheds new light on­ this remarkable couple.

Book Details:

  • Author: Andrew Lownie
  • Published Year: 2019
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Bonnier
    • US: Pegasus
Andrew Lownie

Andrew Lownie

Andrew Lownie was born in 1961 and was educated in Britain and America. He read history at Magdalene College, Cambridge where he was President of the Union. He went on to gain an MSc at Edinburgh University and spend a year at the College of Law in London. After a period as a bookseller and journalist, he began his publishing career as the graduate trainee at Hodder & Stoughton. In 1985 became an agent at John Farquharson, now part of Curtis Brown, and the following year became the then youngest director in British publishing when he was appointed a director. Since 1984 he has written...
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Book Reviews

  • "a compelling new biography…superbly researched book."
    Daily Express
  • "as Andrew Lownie's richly entertaining biography of the Mountbattens makes very clear, theirs was not to be a conventional marriage…a very enjoyable biography of two remarkable people and their even more remarkable marriage.  "
    Daily Mail
  • "If you read the book, which I strongly recommend, I urge you to “stay for the credits” as in a cinema. Andrew Lownie is an unflagging sleuth when it comes to tracking down witnesses to his subjects’ lives…do we have to accept that yet another icon of the 20th century was a paedophile? Lownie piles on the evidence and I was browbeaten into being persuaded…a book that manages to encapsulate concisely the working and private lives, and to sum up the complicated characters, of Dickie and Edwina, and how their marriage worked, or didn’t. The great sweep of the 20th century is laid before us, with Mountbatten, an ever-fascinating mixture of inspired and inept, at its centre, always spinning any military failure to put himself in a good light. All his bunglings are described by Lownie in merciless detail…this incisive book that nails Mountbatten’s vanity as well as his greatness…"
  • "Lownie’s book marks the 40th anniversary of the murder of Mountbatten by the IRA in 1979. He writes with a determination and bounce that befits his subject. Sex is discussed with the easy tolerance of a man of the world. He respects and understands the spirit of service to the state and to the armed forces that animated so many Englishmen until the 1980s. His book has an old-fashioned boyish admiration for pluck. Its quick-moving fluency is well suited to his speedy central characters."
    Sunday Times
  • "This painstakingly researched dual account of Louis and Edwina Mountbatten is genuinely enthralling…A fitting tribute to two complex people."
  • "  Gossipy, interesting and filled with their voices, the biography of the two glamourous people who led complicated lives and had complicated loves, is fascinating. It has letters Dickie wrote to his mother—detailed, intimate and frank—and letters that Edwina wrote to Jawaharlal Nehru—they wrote everyday, then weekly and then fortnightly. . But the book, at the heart of it, is about love. As well as a portrait, no holds barred, of a man who created history and his wife who shared it. "
    The Week (India)
  • "a page-turner which is also a carefully researched work of history. "
  • "By dint of prodigious research, Lownie has stripped away the accretions of fable and fiction to give us an unvarnished double portrait. It is vivid, well balanced and often sympathetic."
    Piers Brendon, Literary Review
  • "Having spent four years researching archives around the world and interviewing almost every living person who knew the Mountbattens, Lownie presents a well-balanced portrait of flawed individuals  whose private lives contrasted with their public persona. The book promises scandal and does not disappoint....Far from a hagiography, Lownie's book dares to go where no other Mountbatten biography has gone before. An explosive account that looks behind the façade of a celebrated couple."
    The Lady
  • "Everything a top-notch biography should be. "
    The Budapest Times
  • "a fascinating study of how love, fades with time. "
    The Hindustan Times
  • "Well-written and makes good bedtime reading."
    Guards Magazine
  • "...this well-researched, enjoyable book...fair-minded and revealing book."
    Jane Ridley, The Oldie
  • "impressively well-researched…a fresh and dispassionate look."
    Daily Mail Biography of Year
  • "meticulously researched new biography…Lownie’s joint biography manages to shed new light on the partnership of Dickie and Edwina, not only incorporating new facts released under the freedom of information requests, but also painstakingly accumulating resources from dozens of archives …Lownie’s work is of paramount importance for readers as it provides an engaging insight into the lives of a controversial couple, who shared a uniquely open relationship, amid challenging political circumstances and radical shifts of power."
  • "entertaining joint biography. "
  • "a fine blend of political, military, and personal history. "
    Hindustani Times
  • "very authoritative and well-researched… It is impossible not to get drawn in… This is history at its most entertaining… It all makes for a hugely entertaining and readable royal biography. "
  • "illuminating…brilliant ."
    Gentleman’s Quarterly
  • ",,,well-written and reads very easily….a valuable warts and all portrait of a couple who were centre stage in British public life for some sixty years.  Recommended."
    The Naval Review
  • "This impeccably researched joint biography is an enthralling portrait of two complex individuals whose public and private lives were somewhat inextricably entwined."
    Daily Mail
  • "A well-researched deep-dive into the lives of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten, a couple who witnessed much of the 20th Century's history – including Royal landmarks – at first hand"
  • "full of detail and insight and is written in a clear, unshowy style."
    The Lady
  • "a juicy dual biography."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "  Lownie’s account of things is a mixture of inevitably indulgent gossip, descriptions of lavish parties, yachts and mansions, while also evaluating Mountbatten’s chequered military career and Edwina’s humanitarian work. One for royal watchers."
    Sydney Morning Herald
  • "This glittering biography delves into the scandal-filled and history-making partnership of Lord Louis ‘Dickie’ Mountbatten and his wife Edwina, an heiress turned humanitarian who charmed the world."
    People Magazine
  • "“The Mountbattens” is most compelling as a strangely sweet tale of open marriage. "
    New York Times Book of the Year
  • "  This biography included everything, warts and all! … This book had me hooked, … the research and the work done by the author is commendable . "
    Speaking Aloud
  • "This book is an eye-opener, often titillating, easy to read, and shocking at times.  I recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by these two people, 20th century British Monarchy and untold secrets! "
  • "...a very competent piece of writing based, as always, on wide-ranging and thorough research. As a result, his readers find themselves enjoying a well-balanced viewpoint on history while, incorrectly, retaining the feeling that this is a novel…. Wherever a reader turns in this magnificent book there are new ideas to consider. The Mountbattens were complex people, judgments of whom range from immoral lovers, society bludgers across the range to persons of heroic status. Lownie’s writing fits the complex nature of his subject yet is always completely unambiguous. I loved this book."
    Queensland Reviewers Collective