FAMOUS FAMILIES: A look at some of the history of the famous Hicks family, including designer David Nightingale Hicks, British royal family member Lady Pamela Mountbatten Hicks (a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and relative of multiple European royal houses), their children Edwina, Ashley and India Hicks, and their Knatchbull cousins…
THE HICKS-MOUNTBATTEN-BATTENBERG FAMILY TREE
David Nightingale Hicks (1929–1998), the son of stockbroker, was a famed interior designer.
He was born in Coggeshall, a village in Essex. After attending Charterhouse school, he studied art and design at the Central School in London, going on to launch his design career with the decoration of his own house in London in 1954.
“My greatest contribution as an interior designer has been to show people how to use bold color mixtures, how to use patterned carpets, how to light rooms and how to mix old with new.”
David Hicks in his book, David Hicks on Living with Taste (1968)
His clients included wealthy business people, fashionistas, celebrities and aristocrats including Vidal Sassoon, Helena Rubinstein, the Duchess of Rutland and Mrs Condé Nast, as well as Manhattan apartments, the Okura Hotel in Tokyo, the King of Saudi Arabia’s yacht, the interior of a BMW, Hubert de Givenchy’s Le Clos Fiorentina on the French Riviera, and scarlet-heeled men’s evening shoes.
In addition to his international designing and decorating business, he had a series of shops, worked as a photographer, author, painter and sculptor, and created clothing, shoes and jewellery collections.
Hicks married Lady Pamela Mountbatten (born 1929), a member of the British royal family, and great niece of the last Tsarina of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna, in 1960 at Romsey Abbey in Hampshire, near the Mountbatten family home, Broadlands, a home inherited by Lady Pamela’s mother, Edwina Ashley, from her grandfather, Sir Edward Cassel (more below).
The wedding of Lady Pamela Mountbatten and Mr David Nightingale Hicks.
The bridesmaids were Princess Anne (daughter of Queen Elizabeth), Princess Clarissa of Hesse (daughter of Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark), Victoria Marten (god-daughter of the bride), Lady Amanda Knatchbull and the Hon. Joanna Knatchbull (daughters of the bride’s sister Patricia).
His marriage into the royal family brought additional career success, which saw him decorating the Prince of Wales’ first apartment at Buckingham Palace, and making carpets for Windsor Castle.
David Nightingale Hicks and his wife, Lady Pamela Hicks, nee Mountbatten
Lady Pamela Mountbatten-Hicks has an illustrious family history, being the daughter of Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten (1900-1979), Prince Louis of Battenberg, and later 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and second cousin once removed to Elizabeth II.
In 1947, she was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her cousins Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. Read more about the royal wedding here.
The wedding of Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom and Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.
Princess Elizabeth was attended by eight bridesmaids: HRH The Princess Margaret (Princess Elizabeth’s
younger sister), HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent (her first cousin), Lady Caroline Montagu-Douglas-Scott (daughter
of the Duke of Buccleuch), Lady Mary Cambridge (her second cousin), Lady Elizabeth Lambart (daughter of the Earl
of Cavan), The Hon. Pamela Mountbatten (Prince Philip’s first cousin, and a more distant cousin of Princess Elizabeth), The
Hon. Margaret Elphinstone (her first cousin) and The Hon. Diana Bowes-Lyon (her first cousin). In addition, her
cousins Prince William of Gloucester and Prince Michael of Kent served as page boys.
Pamela’s father, Lord Louis Mountbatten was the youngest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg (later known as Louis Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven) and his wife Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. As a child, he was known as Prince Louis of Battenberg.
Young Prince Louis of Battenberg, later Lord Louis
Mountbatten, 1st Earl of Burma
He had two sisters and a brother:
- George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven
- Princess Alice of Battenberg, later Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark (the mother of Prince Philip, husband to Queen Elizabeth II)
- Princess Louise of Battenberg, later Queen Louise of Sweden
Princess Victoria and Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg with their
children, left to right, Prince George (later 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven),
Louis (later Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma), Louise
(later Queen Louise of Sweden), and Alice (later Princess Andrew of
Greece and Denmark )
Essentially, as a great-grandson of Queen Victoria, Lord Mountbatten was related to all the royal houses of Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland, Germany, Spain, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, and Bulgaria.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with their children
Prince Louis of Hesse with his wife Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria
His paternal grandparents were Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine and Julia Hauke, later Princess Julia of Battenberg, a lady-in-waiting to Tsesarevna Marie Alexandrovna, wife of the future Tsar Alexander II and sister of Prince Alexander of Hesse and by Rhine.
Prince Alexander of Hesse and his wife Princess Julia of Battenberg
Because of anti-German sentiment surrounding World War I, the family changed their name to the anglicised “Mountbatten” from the German “Battenberg”.
In 1922, Louis Mountbatten married socialite and heiress Edwina Cynthia Annette Ashley (1901-1960), daughter of Wilfred William Ashley, later 1st Baron Mount Temple and a a Conservative Member of Parliament, and grandson of the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, and heiress Amalia Mary Maud Cassel.
The then-Prince Edward (future King Edward VIII, and later the Duke of Windsor) served as the best man.
Edwina Ashley was the favourite granddaughter of the Edwardian tycoon Sir Ernest Cassel, friend and private financier to the future King Edward VII, prime minister Herbert Asquith and Winston Churchill.
When Sir Ernest died, he left Edwina her £2 million, the English country house “Broadlands” in Hampshire and the palatial London townhouse, “Brook House”. Keep in mind that Lord Mountbatten’s salary at the time was £610 per year.
The Esoteric Curiosa has a lot more detail about Edwina’s fascinating life as a socialite, hostess, mistress and community service worker here, as does The Devoted Classicist here, including photos of Brook House.
Sir Edward Cassel
Edwina Ashley and Louis Mountbatten on their wedding day
Lord Mountbattern had a prestigious career as Admiral of the Fleet, the last Viceroy of India, and consequently the first Governor-General, overseeing the transition of British India to independence in 1948.
Louis and Edwina Mountbatten had two daughters:
Edwina Mountbatten with one of her daughters
Patricia Mountbatten married John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne, with her bridesmaids being Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Lady Pamela Mountbatten (her sister) and Princess Alexandra, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
Lady Patricia and John Knatchbull had eight children:
- Norton Louis Philip Knatchbull, 8th Baron Brabourne (born 1947), married Penelope Eastwood, and they had three children
- The Hon. Michael-John Ulick Knatchbull (born 1950), married Melissa Owen and they had one daughter Kelly, who is a goddaughter of Princess Anne. After divorcing in 1997, he married (and later divorced) Susan Coates and had one daughter Savannah
- The Hon. Anthony Knatchbull (born and died 1952)
- Lady Joanna Edwina Doreen Knatchbull (born 1955), married Baron Hubert Pernot du Breuil and they had one daughter. After their divorce, she married Azriel Zuckerman and they had one son
- Lady Amanda Patricia Victoria Knatchbull (born 1957), married Charles Ellingworth and they had three sons
- The Hon. Philip Wyndham Ashley Knatchbull (born 1961) married Atalanta Cowan and they had one daughter. After their divorce, he married Wendy Leach and they had two sons
- The Hon. Nicholas Timothy Charles Knatchbull (1964–1979) was murdered, aged 14, by the IRA
- The Hon. Timothy Nicholas Sean Knatchbull (born 1964), married Isabella Norman (a great-great-granddaughter of the 4th Earl of Bradford) and they had two sons and three daughters.
The eldest son of Lady Patricia Mountbatten and John Knatchbull,
Norton Knatchbull, 8th Baron Brabourne with Lady Romsey, and children
Nicholas (middle), Leonora (left) and Alexandra
One of the eight children of Lady Patricia and John Knatchbull, 14-year-old Nicholas Knatchbull was killed in the bombing of Lord Mountbatten’s boat by the IRA in 1979, which also killed Lord Mountbatten, Lady Patricia’s mother-in-law, the Dowager Baroness Brabourne, and fifteen-year-old Paul Maxwell, a local boat boy.
Lady Patricia, her husband, and their son Timothy were injured but survived the attack. Read more about this tragic event here.
Another of Lady Patricia’s children, Amanda Knatchbull (cousin of India Hicks, and now Lady Amanda Ellingworth), was touted as a prospective bride for her royal cousin and heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, who was also being mentored by Lord Louis Mountbatten (Amanda and India’s grandfather).
Amanda declined the marriage proposal of Charles in 1980, following the assassination of Lord Mountbatten and her brother. As we all know, he went on to marry Lady Diana Spencer. India Hicks, then aged 13, was a bridesmaid at their wedding.
Newly married Princess Diana with her bridesmaids at Buckingham Palace
after the ceremony, including India Hicks
Lady Patricia inherited the Mountbatten title from her father, making her Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, as well as becoming Lady Brabourne when her husband inherited his family title.
Read more about the Battenbergs/Mountbattens, and their forefathers, the Saxe-Coburg-Gothas:
- Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten by Pamela Hicks
- India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens During the Transfer of Power by Pamela Mountbatten and India Hicks
- Mountbatten: The Private Story by Brian Hoey
- Personal Diary of Admiral the Lord Louis Mountbatten Supreme Allied Commander, South-East Asia, 1943-1946 by Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma
- The Life and Times of Lord Mountbatten by John Terraine
- Mountbatten: Apprentice War Lord by Adrian Smith
- MOUNTBATTEN: A biography by Richard Hough
- MOUNTBATTEN: A biography by Philip Ziegler
- The Diaries of Lord Louis Mountbatten 1920-22: Tours with the Prince of Wales by Earl Louis Mountbatten Mountbatten of Burma
- Lord Mountbatten: His Butler’s Story by Charles Smith
- Lord Mountbatten: The Last Viceroy by David Butler
- From a Clear Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten Bomb by Timothy Knatchbull
- Edwina Mountbatten: A Life of Her Own by Janet Morgan
- Edwina, Countess Mountbatten of Burma by Richard Alexander Hough
- Edwina Mountbatten by The Countess of Brecknock
- Edwina: The biography of the Countess Mountbatten of Burma by Madeleine Masson
- Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire by Alex Von Tunzelmann
- Queen Victoria’s Children by John Van der Kiste
- Victoria’s Daughters by Jerrold M. Packard
- The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter by Lucinda Hawksley
- Helena: Queen Victoria’s third daughter by John Van der Kiste
- Queen Victoria’s Granddaughters: 1860-1918 by Christina Croft
- Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria by Julia P. Gelardi
- Imperial Requiem: Four Royal Women and the Fall of the Age of Empires by Justin C. Vovk
- Louise Mountbatten: Queen of Sweden by M. Fjellman
- Alice: Princess Andrew of Greece by Hugo Vickers
- Louis & Victoria: The first Mountbattens by Richard Alexander Hough
- From Battenberg to Mountbatten by E. H Cookridge
- The Mountbattens: The Battenbergs and Young Mountbatten by Antony Lambton
- The Mountbattens: The last royal success story by Alden Hatch
- Broadlands the Home of Lord Mountbatten by Lord Romsey
Lady Pamela Hicks, formerly Mountbatten, daughter of Louis and Edwina Mountbatten,
and mother of Edwina, Ashley and India Hicks
David and Pamela Hicks had three children:
- Edwina Victoria Louise Hicks (born 1961) is a model
- Ashley Hicks (born 1963) is an author, architect, and interior and furniture designer, and godson of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (his mother’s first cousin) – see inside his own home here
- India Amanda Caroline Hicks (born 1967) is an author, television host, model, and fragrance, homewares and jewellery designer.
Edwina Hicks married Jeremy Brudenell (born 1960) in 1984 and they have three children:
- Maddison May Brudenell (born 1994)
- Jordan Anne Brudenell (born 1995)
- Rowan Michael David Brudenell (born 2001)
Ashley Hicks married Italian designer, Allegra Tondato (born 1960) in 1990, and separated in 2009. They have two children:
- Angelica Margherita Edwina Hicks (born 1992) – her godfather is Prince Charles
- Ambrosia Maria Elizabeth Hicks (born 1997)
India Hicks has four children with her partner, interior designer and hotelier, David Flint Wood, but because they were born out of wedlock, they are excluded from the line of succession to the British throne:
- Felix Austen Flint Wood (born 1997)
- Amory John Flint Wood (born 1999)
- Conrad Lorenzo Flint Wood (born 2003)
- Domino Carmen Flint Wood (born 2007)
India Hicks with one of her children at their Bahamas home
Read more about the Hicks:
- Island Life: Inspirational Interiors by India Hicks
- Island Life by India Hicks and David Flint Wood
- Island Beauty by India Hicks
- David Hicks: A Life of Design by Ashley Hicks
- David Hicks: Designer by Ashley Hicks
- Allegra Hicks: An Eye for Design by Allegra Hicks
- Design Alchemy by Ashley Hicks and Allegra Hicks
- David Hicks: My Kind of Garden by David Hicks
- David Hicks Garden Design by David Hicks
- Cotswold Gardens by David Hicks
- Style and Design by David Hicks
- David Hicks on Decoration by David Hicks
- David Hicks on Decoration with Fabrics by David Hicks
- David Hicks on home decoration by David Hicks
- David Hicks on Bathrooms by David Hicks
- David Hicks on Living With Taste by David Hicks
- Irish Country Houses: A Chronicle of Change by David Hicks
- The David Hicks Book of flower arranging by David Hicks
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