The current head of the illustrious Mountbatten family, George Mountbatten, made his name in business with the creation of British price comparison site, uSwitch.com. But he is just the latest in a long line of men that changed the way Britain works. Let’s explore the impact of this famous family on British culture.
The Mountbatten heritage
The Mountbattens descend from the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Hesse, the German house of Battenberg. The first of their line to use the name was Julia, Countess of Battenberg, in 1851. Two of the children from Julia’s marriage went on to marry children or grandchildren of Queen Victoria and the family’s integration into British history began.
The name Mountbatten was first used by the family during the First World War as anti-German sentiment grew in the UK. In 1917 Prince Louis became the 1st Marquess of Milford Haven and the name now held by George Mountbatten was embedded into society. Even Prince George, the boy who will one day rule England and the realm, is being educated under the name Mountbatten-Windsor.
Who’s who of The Mountbattens
Rear Admiral Louis Mountbatten
The first truly influential member of the line was Rear Admiral Louis Mountbatten, the first Viscount Mountbatten of Burma. He was a high-ranking naval officer and is well-known as the uncle of Prince Philip, the current Duke of Edinburgh. In fact, Louis was the matchmaker who brought together Queen Elizabeth and the man who would become her consort.
He played an important role in the defence of the UK during the Second World War, serving as Supreme Allied Commander of the South-East Asia Command. He also held posts in the government of India as it headed towards independence from the British crown. He eventually became Chief of the Defence Staff and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee.
Louis Mountbatten’s death was almost as famous as his life. He was killed in an IRA terrorist attack in the Republic of Ireland in 1979. Senior members of the British Royal Family were said to be deeply upset by his passing.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
The husband of Queen Elizabeth II, and the father of the next generation of Britain’s ruling family, uses the name Mountbatten. A Greek and Danish national by birth, Phillip took the name on receiving British citizenship prior to his marriage. As such, members of the family that descend from Elizabeth and Phillip use the title Mountbatten-Windsor.
Phillip was a serving British Navy officer when he met the woman who would be his wife and after his marriage did continue to serve in various positions within the Admiralty. He was known as an ambitious and competent officer who eventually went on to retire his commission in order to support the Queen’s growing responsibilities.
As the monarch’s consort Phillip has created a number of programmes for the public good, notably the Duke of Edinburgh Award which recognises challenges and community work completed by young people.
George Mountbatten, Fourth Marquess of Milford Haven
The current holder of the family name, George Mountbatten, has proved himself to be an effective businessman and now invests in ideas and companies around the world. His most well-known project was the consumer portal uSwitch.com which allows customers to compare deals available to them on their utility and other household bills.
George Mountbatten and his team first came up with the idea as the energy market deregulated in the year 2000 and went on to make over £200 million in the uSwitch.com sale to an American firm in 2006. He now invests in similar operations in emerging markets and has business partners operating in both Turkey and Brazil.
The heir apparent to the title is George Mountbatten’s son, Henry Mountbatten, the current Earl of Medina. His sister, Tatiana, sits behind him in line for the house titles. Henry has been working with his father on ideas such as an aviation company and, if the family connections are anything to go by, is likely to bring him great influence and success.