Last viceroy Mountbatten was bisexual, liked young boys: FBI files

The claims are contained in a book on the love lives of Louis, Edwina Mountbatten

IND0810B Lord Mountbatten is seen saluting the Indian national flag hoisted at the India Gate as Lady Edwina and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru look on, in New Delhi on August 15, 1947, the first Independence Day of India | PTI

An oft-repeated allegation by critics of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, is that he allowed himself to be manipulated by Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of British India.

Some critics of Nehru, such as BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, have persistently raised allegations of Nehru's relationship with Edwina. In 2018, Swamy had tweeted “Jammu Kashmir State after merger was arbitrarily and without cabinet approval referred to UN by Nehru at Edwina's urging”.

Now, a new book on the lives of the Mountbattens claims to have accessed files of the US FBI that reported Louis Mountbatten was himself bisexual and had a “fetish” for “beautiful boys in school uniform”.

Written by Andrew Lownie, The Mountbattens: Their Lives & Loves is scheduled to hit the stands on August 22, the Sunday Times reported. Louis Mountbatten was a hero of the Second World War, known for his exploits against the Japanese in Burma, long before his appointment as viceroy to India in February 1947. After independence, Louis Mountbatten briefly served as first governor-general of India.

Ironically, the book's release will come in the run-up to the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Louis Mountbatten. Louis Mountbatten was killed when a bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army extremist group exploded on his fishing boat off the Irish coast.

Reporting on the contents of Lownie's book, various British media outlets on Sunday highlighted that one of the sources of the claims of Louis Mountbatten being bisexual was declassified FBI files. According to the Sunday Times, Lownie's book accessed FBI files dating as far back as 1944. The 1944 FBI entry quotes that Louis and his wife were considered persons of “extremely low morals” in royal circles. Mountbatten was an uncle of Prince Philip and a distant cousin of the current British monarch, Queen Elizabeth.

The 1944 FBI file entry reports “Lord Louis Mountbatten was known to be a homosexual with a perversion for young boys” and was considered unfit to lead military operations because of this. Homosexual acts were illegal in the UK till 1967.

Lownie's book quotes Ron Perks, Louis Mountbatten's driver in Malta in 1948, as saying Louis Mountbatten used to frequent a “gay brothel used by senior naval officers” in Rabat, Morocco.

According to the Sunday Times, the book notes Edwina was involved with several men in the 1950s, while Louis Mountbatten was in a relationship with Yola Letellier, a Frenchwoman. In the 1960s, Louis Mountbatten was the regimental colonel of the Life Guards unit of the British Army. According to the Sunday Times, Lownie's book hints the Life Guards was used as a “fruitful source” of young men for Louis Mountbatten.

Tom Driberg, a Labour party MP who was openly gay, was a friend of Louis Mountbatten. Lownie's book quotes an associate of Driberg as saying, “Tom said Mountbatten had something of a fetish for uniforms—handsome young men in military uniforms (with high boots) and beautiful boys in school uniform.”