Royal families around the globe are certainly no strangers to sex scandals, yet recent events involving the U.K.'s Prince Andrew and his links to the now-dead sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein many believe to be bigger than them all. However, even his alleged crimes might pale in comparison to one other figure who sat at the heart of Britain's first family for decades — Lord Louis Mountbatten.
Mountbatten is a towering figure in the recent history of the Royal Family and the British Isles. The uncle to the late Prince Phillip and second cousin to Queen Elizabeth, Mountbatten, served as Supreme Allied Commander in East Asia, Chief of the Defence Staff and First Sea Lord. Still lauded by the U.K. press as a national hero, in part given his assassination by the IRA in 1979, he was also a well-documented and accused pedophile.
In 2019, an FBI dossier on Mountbatten revealed that the United States had deep reservations and distaste for the royal. The file states both he and his wife Edwina were "persons of extremely low morals" and that Mountbatten was a pedophile with "a perversion for young boys." The fallout was quick, and The London Times attempted to pass off Mountbatten's pedophilia as merely "Lust for Young Men."
This claim not only conflated his proclivities for children with homosexuality, but it continued the media's age-old complicity in prominent cases of child abuse. Describing Mountbatten as a "sexually voracious man whose bisexuality became a theme of U.S. intelligence files," the newspaper ignored the dossier's explicit naming of his preference as "boys."
The FBI files were released under a Freedom of Information Act request and compiled in 1944 after Mountbatten was named supreme allied commander of southeast Asia. It featured comments from Baroness Decies, Elizabeth de la Poer Beresford.
Baroness Decies stated that Mountbatten was "known to be a homosexual with a perversion for young boys" and was "an unfit man to direct any sort of military operations because of this condition. She stated further that his wife, Lady Mountbatten, was considered equally erratic." EE Conroy, head of the New York FBI field office, added in the file she "appears to have no special motive in making the above statements."
It wasn't long after their marriage that an unhappy Edwina was engaging in affairs, with an early-1930s divorce petition for Marjorie Hall Simpson mentioning Edwina by name as engaging in liaisons with her husband, Henry Anthony Simpson. The scandal pushed the Mountbattens into having an open marriage, and more affairs would follow, perhaps most notably with legendary Black American singer and Marxist Paul Robeson.
AN OPEN SECRET
The Baroness' comments show the behavior of the Mountbattens was an open secret within elite British circles for some considerable time and not limited to the actions of Edwina. However, the FBI had little interest in Mountbatten once his loyalty to the West was assured. Investigators once feared some level of Marxist sympathies with Mountbatten or within his close circle, perhaps not surprising given Edwina's indiscretions with Robeson.
Mountbatten's preference for boys, as opposed to men, was confirmed by his driver during the war, Norman Nield. Nield admitted he transported young boys aged between 8 and 12 to his commander while speaking with "New Zealand Truth" in 1987. He alleged Mountbatten used "brandy and lemonade" to subdue the children before committing sex acts, admitting that he was paid £5 a time to keep quiet — worth more than £200 in today's currency.
Details of the shocking dossier were revealed with the 2019 publication of "The Mountbattens: Their Lives & Loves" by the historian Andrew Lownie. As part of the book, Lownie interviewed Anthony Daly, a male sex worker for London's rich and famous during the 1970s.
Daly revealed that "Mountbatten had something of a fetish for uniforms — handsome young men in military uniforms (with high boots) and beautiful boys in school uniform." An interview with Daly from the previous year revealed that his other clients included the Soviet spy and art historian Sir Anthony Blunt.
Blunt, who served at Buckingham Palace as Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, was exposed in 1979 as one of the infamous Cambridge Five spy-ring who scandalized the British establishment in the 1960s after being exposed as Russian agents. Three fled to Moscow, but Blunt was caught and granted anonymity and immunity for turning on his Soviet handlers in 1964. Daly alleges the spy asked him if he was a graduate of Kincora, the notorious children's home in Belfast, where boys were abused by staff and prominent men in society.
The man responsible for exposing Blunt as one of the “Cambridge Five” was the author Robin Bryans. While Bryans actions in naming Blunt were important news in the U.K. and had fallout for many years afterward, his efforts to expose Mountbatten fell mainly on deaf ears. Bryans expressly states that Mountbatten's genuine interest was "first-year public schoolboys" and that he regularly engaged with "old-boy networks that held orgies."
Writing in November of 1989, Bryans said then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had "unbalanced the status quo" when she was forced to admit to the British parliament that Blunt had been a double agent, risking Blunt blowing the whistle on activities at Kincora. Bryans adds, that "This betrayal (as Blunt saw it) risked letting all sorts of other skeletons out of the cupboard. Not the least of these was the long-standing arrangement whereby Kincora and Portora Boys' Schools were used as homosexual brothels by many prominent figures, including Lord Mountbatten."
Both Mountbatten and Blunt were known to each other, and Bryans alleges in the Irish magazine Now that both men were part of the same pedophile ring that procured boys from schools and children's homes in the north of Ireland, including the named Portora School in Enniskillen and Kincora. Several former victims of the Kincora Scandal have alleged they were trafficked to Mountbatten at his southern home in Mullaghmore, County Sligo.
A TERRIBLE HOME
Exposed as far back as 1977, Kincora Boys' Home was the scene for one of Ireland's biggest child sex abuse scandals and cover-ups. Boys at the home had been abused and prostituted across the region.
In 1980, three members of staff were charged with offenses linked to the abuse. They included housemaster William McGrath, a prominent Ulster loyalist and founding member of the far-right Tara movement. His links amongst the British establishment were extensive, McGrath being utilized as an asset during the British state's dirty war against Irish republicanism. While all were convicted, the majority of those involved in the abuse walked away.
Lownie's book also features an interview with one of Mountbatten's victims during his visits to Kincora, a 16-year-old named only as "Amal."
"He was very polite, very nice. I knew he was someone important. He asked if I wanted a drink or candy. He told me he liked dark-skinned people, especially Sri Lankan people, as they were very friendly and very good-looking. I remember he admired my smooth skin. We gave each other oral sex in a 69 position. He was very tender, and I felt comfortable about it. It seemed very natural. I know that several other boys from Kincora were brought to him on other occasions,” Amal noted.
The claims of a prominent pedophile ring were further explored by the current affairs and cultural magazine Village in Ireland, collected by Joseph de Burca into an online book under the title "The Anglo-Irish Vice Ring." The book details how the British and Irish establishment continues to cover up the crimes of both the network and Lord Mountbatten, with some of the other abusers still being alive today.
Another story featured by Village was Steven Waring and his friend identified only as "Sean." Both also Kincora residents, Waring was trafficked to Mountbatten's southern home and sexually abused in August of 1977. He escaped the children's home and fled to Liverpool in England, where he was arrested. He was put on the Liverpool-Belfast Monarch Ferry to take him back to Kincora and committed suicide before he arrived, jumping into the sea.
His body was never recovered.
The series by Village highlights the links between McGrath and prominent politicians and personalities in England. These figures include Mountbatten and Blunt alongside former Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's parliamentary private secretary Sir Knox Cunningham and the deputy lord lieutenant of Tyrone Peter Montgomery. Also involved was Peter Murphy, Mountbatten's personal assistant.
Yet another of Mountbatten's known associates was the Labour Party Member of Parliament Tom Driberg, with who he is said to have had an affair. Driberg was appointed an unofficial temporary special adviser to Mountbatten while in Burma during the war and "coincidentally" was another client of Anthony Daly. Like Blunt, he was a spy for the KGB and associate of Guy Burgess of the Cambridge Five.
In January of 1982, the net seemed to be closing on those involved with the institutionalized sexual abuse at Kincora when police interviewed John McKeague. McKeague was a prominent Ulster unionist and one of the founders of the Red Hand Commando terrorist organization, a small group closely linked to the significant Ulster Volunteer Force.
McKeague was strongly suspected by British military intelligence of involvement in the brutal killing of a 10-year-old boy named Brian McDermott in September of 1973, the body being burned and dismembered. He had already been interned in February of that year and was soon sentenced to a further three years for an armed robbery he denied. By 1982, he was unwilling to return to prison and told friends locally that he would be talking about what happened at Kincora.
On Jan. 29, McKeague was shot dead at a shop he kept in East Belfast. The killing was reportedly carried out by the Irish National Liberation Army. Still, speculation claimed there was a link to the recent questions asked about child sex abuse. The Irish journalists Jack Holland and Henry McDonald have argued one of those involved in the shooting was a known Special Branch officer, and the other had long been rumored to have links to British intelligence.
AN UNKNOWN SCANDAL
Mountbatten and his crimes failed to become widespread public knowledge thanks to the activities of MI5. Many involved in carrying out the abuse in the north were either known operatives of the agency or informants and the security services utilized their knowledge of their abuse as a method of blackmail. This tactic has been replicated around the globe. The network was exposed by Blunt after his arrest in 1963 and faced with life in prison; the spy agreed to confess everything he knew in exchange for immunity and a cover-up of his crimes.
Blunt's secrets exposed his activities with the KGB and what he knew of illicit activities amongst his friends and acquaintances in the north of Ireland. MI5 were in dreamland and realized there was an opportunity not only for blackmail but to keep their allies sweet with regular access to children. Their commitment to maintaining hegemony in the north of Ireland eclipsed any thoughts to the morality of turning a blind eye to sex abuse.
While Blunt's treason was unknown to the public at large, there can be little doubt that a man as well-positioned as Mountbatten would have been fully aware of his actions. The "national hero" was seemingly willing to put aside any feelings of loyalty where his urges were concerned.
Mountbatten was assassinated in 1979 by the Provisional IRA, yet the level of protection still offered him goes right to the top not only in Britain, but also in Ireland. While attempting to research events in the north for his book, Lownie was consistently denied access to files from the Irish police, the Garda.
Speaking with Village Magazine, a former deputy Garda commissioner confirmed that Irish authorities had been aware of the allegations against the royal, a second Garda source telling the magazine that there was information that Mountbatten had abused a 14-year-old boy during his time in India.
With Mountbatten's home being located in County Sligo, he was afforded the protection of the Garda, and logs were kept of all those who attended. With solid evidence Mountbatten was not only visited there by those involved in the Kincora scandal but had children trafficked to his home by Joseph Mains, the Warden of Kincora. Lownie requested access to the files, and while they were confirmed to still exist, he was denied an opportunity to view them. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris worked extensively with MI5.
In 2011, the British television personality and royal confidante Jimmy Savile died at the age of 84. A famous charity campaigner and host, he had won the respect of many in the establishment. Yet, once dead, the truth of his crimes came to light, being exposed as possibly one of the country's most prolific child sex offenders. The revelations on Savile, for a time, changed British society, and there was a new willingness to speak openly on issues that had long been swept under the carpet.
With accusations against other stars and even politicians now on the table, finally, the claims against Mountbatten seemed ready to be aired, the reports stemming from the release of the FBI files and Lownie's book given prominent coverage.
Curiously, however, despite the British press having a fondness for exploring every lurid detail of celebrity pedophiles, the reports focused on the FBI files and the crimes at Kincora were never mentioned. Just as soon as these stories appeared, they soon faded from headlines, and the press returned to treating Mountbatten as a hero, ignoring the fact the revelations had even happened.
The exposure of Mountbatten's sexual abuse and association with publicly derided traitors would have done far more damage to the monarchy's global reputation in the 1970s than even the Prince Andrew scandal or Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's revelations on "Oprah" have done in our own era. Questions would have been asked of ministers, civil servants, other royals and more. The exposure of establishment child abuse networks sanctioned by the state would have been devastating.
Indeed, the damage to Britain's reputation would have eclipsed other infamous British scandals such as the Profumo Soviet spy case or the “Cambridge Five” and Jimmy Savile affairs. Britain's shame would have been near absolute, the lurid details serving as both a source of fury for Irish republicans and confirmation of western depravity for the Soviet Union.
As the years have passed, many more allegations surrounding Mountbatten have come to the fore and are not dealt with here, including plots to undermine British democracy throughout the 1970s. Far from being a national hero, the truth is that his image is illusionary and one that continues to serve as a shield protecting prominent names from justice.
The campaign enacted to cover up the establishment's crimes is staggering in its scope. So enormous are the crimes and figures that such duplicity is impossible without the consent of swathes of the British government machine. These abuses include countless state-sanctioned rapes, child sex trafficking, the intimidation of victims and witnesses and possibly even assassination.
While nobody doubts that war is a dirty business, Britain's actions in Ireland were perhaps the dirtiest of all. There was a public inquiry into Savile; there has never been one into Mountbatten or the activities of the security services during the dirty war. While there have been token convictions, these were little more than disposable fall guys for those who really pulled strings — men like Lord Louis Mountbatten, whose escape from justice proved that some individuals really are above the law.