Britain to get its first royal gay couple this year, but are they ready?

By Prarthana Mitra

In a historic first, the British Royal Family will soon participate in a wedding like none before.

The Queen’s cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten, who became the first member of the Royal Family to come out as gay in 2016, is set to marry his long-term partner James Coyle later this year.

An extraordinary story with a happy ending

A 55-year-old divorcee with three children from his previous marriage, Mountbatten opened up about his sexuality after struggling to come to terms with his sexuality for decades. Coyle, who was by his side when he revealed he was gay, will marry the Royal in an intimate wedding later this summer.

Speaking to DailyMail UK, he said that the wedding was his idea, revealing: “I really wanted to do it for James. He hasn’t been married.” Growing up in a deeply conservative household, James had been bullied and discriminated against for his sexuality during his youth. Calling him extremely “caring and giving”, Mountbatten recalls a time when his daughters were the first ones to suggest the idea of marriage, albeit jokingly. He also tells the publication quite wistfully, how times have changed in the sense that young people today were more open to new ideas.

Poised to be a wedding without any precedent, Ivar and James’ announcement comes at the peak of Pride Month. It will follow the spectacular Royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which too was a first in many ways. Biracial Hollywood actor Markle (now Duchess of Winsdor) has been actively involved in gay rights campaigns and voiced her support for the community in the day leading to the wedding. Prince Harry has also stepped in on behalf of the gay community, busting misconceptions about HIV/AIDS being an exclusively “gay” disease on numerous occasions.


Is the world ready for a royal gay couple?

In an email correspondence with MailOnline, Lord Mountbatten said that neither he nor his partner had received any backlash over the planned union from his immediate or extended family and friends, 120 of whom will be attending the ceremony. The wedding reportedly has the full blessing of everyone including lifelong friend Prince Edward, to whose eldest child he is a godparent. In fact, they have all been supportive to the extent that his ex-wife Penny will walk him down the aisle, while another friend, having just met James, commented, “If I was gay, I’d certainly go for him.”

A poll conducted by YouGov last year, however, paints a very different picture. At least half the British population had then expressed their objection to a gay wedding in the royal family. The most common reason for this was because it would serve as an “endorsement” of gay rights. So this wedding when it comes through, maybe one without a precedent but it will still be one of great social significance.

Right now, the two are preoccupied with preparing for the upcoming nuptials.

“We’ll have lovely food and really good music, but there won’t be two men in tuxedos on a cake, white doves or anything twee or contrived like that[…],” said Lord Mountbatten, adding as an afterthought. “We’ll probably have cheese, instead of cake.”

Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius


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