Who is Countess Mountbatten of Burma? Penelope Knatchbull’s friendship with Prince Philip and the Queen explained

Countess Mountbatten is one of thirty guests attending the funeral on Saturday

Prince Philip and Countess Mountbatten were close friends (Getty Images)

The 30-person guestlist for Prince Philip’s funeral released earlier this week includes a number of names familiar to the public, as well as a handful that may not be.

With attendance severely limited due to coronavirus restrictions, there are a number of family-members of the duke that unfortunately won’t be able to attend.

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The Duchess of Sussex – who is heavily pregnant with a second child - the Prince’s great grandchildren and Prince Michael of Kent are among those who weren’t invited.

Among the less familiar figures to be in attendance will be Countess Mountbatten, Penelope “Penny” Knatchbull, a dear friend of the Prince’s.

Who is Countess Mountbatten?

Penelope Meredith Mary Knatchbull holds the title Countess Mountbatten of Burma.

Born Penelope Meredith Mary Eastwood she got her title when she married Norton Knatchbull, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma in 1979. Prince Charles was the best man at their wedding.

Penelope was known as Lady Bradbourne until 2017 when she inherited the title from 2nd Countess Patricia Knatchbull.

She and the Duke became close friends in the early ‘90s following the death of five-year-old daughter Lenora.

The Duke taught her to ride a carriage the pair attending the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1994. Such was her bond with the royal couple that palace staff were said to have nicknamed her “and also”, because she was automatically added to guest lists.

Today she is in charge of the running of Broadlands estate in Hampshire, the home of her and her husband.

The 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma’s grandfather was murdered by the IRA in 1979. Lady Brabourne, Nicholas Knatchbull and their friend Paul Maxwell were also killed by the explosion.

Who else will be in attendance?

Among the guests are all of the duke’s children and grandchildren and their spouses, the children of the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret and three of Philip’s German relatives, the Hereditary Prince of Baden, Prince Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse and Prince Philipp of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.

Buckingham Palace confirmed that royal men will wear morning coats with their medals while the women will wear day dresses.

The funeral will be the highest profile royal event the Duke of York has attended since he stepped down from public duties following his disastrous Newsnight interview about his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Harry has spoken in the past about how he and William are on “different paths” and have good and bad days in their relationship.