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Coming Out

In a First, British Royal Family Member Comes Out as Gay

Lord Ivar Mountbatten
Lord Ivar Mountbatten

Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, says he has found love with airline executive James Coyle.

Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, has come out as gay, making him the first member of the British royal family to do so.

Mountbatten came out in an interview with the U.K.'s Mail on Sunday, introducing his partner, airline cabin services director James Coyle. He offered an interview to the paper because various media outlets were looking into his personal life.

'"'Coming out' is such a funny phrase, but it's what I suppose I did in a rather roundabout way, emerging to a place I'm happy to be," he told the Mail. "I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point."

Lord Ivar was previously married to a woman, with whom he has three daughters. At the time of his marriage, he identified as bisexual (media reports now describe him as gay, not bi), something he confided to his wife, Penny, although not to the public. They were married from 1994 until 2011. He came out with the blessing of his ex-wife, his children, and his extended family, he noted.

He met Coyle at a Swiss resort last year, initially mistaking him for someone he knew. The exchanged phone numbers, met up again in London, and they now live together on a country estate.

Mountbatten is 53 and Coyle 54, and they both say they it took them some time to accept being gay. "Being a Mountbatten was never the problem, t was the generation into which I was born," Lord Ivar said. "When I was growing up, it was known as 'he love that dare not speak its name,' but what's amazing now is how far we have all come in terms of acceptance."

For his part, Coyle said, "I was driven into the closet by not wanting to come to terms with who I was and facing friends and family in the early years. I buried it. I even had girlfriends as I tried to work out what I wanted to be. It was not an easy time in my teens or 20s. I'm just so pleased now to have found someone who I am happy to call my partner. My work involves a lot of travel. For the first time I have had someone to come home to."

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