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The Marquess of Milford Haven

Head of the House of Hesse-Darmstadt
Tenure6 June 1968 - 14 April 1970
Predecessor Louis, Prince of Hesse and by Rhine
Successor George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven
BornDavid Michael Mountbatten
(1919-05-12)12 May 1919
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died14 April 1970(1970-04-14) (aged 50)
London, England
Romaine Dahlgren Pierce
( m. 1950; div. 1954)

Janet Mercedes Bryce
( m. 1960)
Issue George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven
Lord Ivar Mountbatten
Parents George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven
Countess Nadejda Mikhailovna of Torby
Military career
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service1933–48
Rank Lieutenant
Battles/wars Second World War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Officer of the Order of the British Empire

Lieutenant David Michael Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven, OBE, DSC (12 May 1919 – 14 April 1970), styled Viscount Alderney before 1921 and Earl of Medina between 1921 and 1938, was the son of the George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven and Countess Nadejda Mikhailovna of Torby.


Early years and education

Lord Milford Haven was born in 1919. [1] He was the only son of George Mountbatten, 2nd Marquess of Milford Haven (who had been born as Prince George of Battenberg), and Russian Countess Nadejda (Nada) Torby, who wed in 1916. [1] His paternal grandparents were Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine. [1] Therefore, he was a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria. [2] His maternal grandparents were Grand Duke Michael Mikhailovich of Russia and Countess Sophie von Merenberg. He is also a descendant of the Russian writer Aleksandr Pushkin as well as Peter the Great's African protégé, General Abram Petrovich Gannibal.

He grew up at the family home in Holyport, Berkshire and enjoyed a close friendship with his first cousin Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, later the Duke of Edinburgh. [2] They both attended Dartmouth Naval College. [2] He served as best man to the prince at his marriage in November 1947 to the Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II. [2]

Upon the death of his father on 8 April 1938, he became the 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven and head of the House of Mountbatten.

Navy and postwar social life

During the Second World War Milford Haven served in the Royal Navy. In 1942 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for taking the destroyer Kandahar through a minefield in an attempt to rescue the cruiser Neptune. In 1943 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his work on Malta convoy operations. He retired from the Navy in 1948. He subsequently joined The Castaways' Club, which enabled him to keep in close contact with many of his naval contemporaries.

He then played a prominent part in the London demi-monde of the 1950s, which brought together a colourful mix of aristocrats and shadowy social climbers like osteopath Stephen Ward. This hard-partying set formed the nucleus for the Profumo affair. [3]


Milford Haven was married twice:

  1. George Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven (born 6 June 1961)
  2. Lord Ivar Mountbatten (born 9 March 1963)


Milford Haven died of a heart attack, aged 50, on 14 April 1970 in London. His ashes were buried in the Battenberg Chapel at St. Mildred's Church, Whippingham, on the Isle of Wight ( photo).


Coat of arms of David Mountbatten, 3rd Marquess of Milford Haven
A Coronet of a Marquess
1st: Out of a Coronet Or two Horns barry of ten Argent and Gules issuing from each three Linden Leaves Vert and from the outer side of each horn four Branches barwise having three like Leaves pendent therefrom of the last (Hesse); 2nd: Out of a Coronet Or a Plume of four Ostrich Feathers alternately Argent and Sable (Battenberg)
Quarterly: 1st and 4th, Azure a Lion rampant double-queued barry of ten Argent and Gules armed and langued of the last crowned Or within a Bordure company of the second and third (Hesse); 2nd and 3rd, Argent two Pallets Sable (Battenberg); charged on the honour point with an Escutcheon of the arms of the late Princess Alice, namely: the Royal Arms differenced by a Label of three points Argent the centre point charged with a Rose Gules barbed Vert and each of the other points with an Ermine Spot Sable
On either side a Lion double-queued and crowned all Or
In Honour Bound


  1. ^ a b c "David Mountbatten, Third Marquess of Milforhaven (1919– )". Historical Boys' Royal Costume. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Best man may take spotlight". The Telegraph Herald. London. AP. 12 November 1947. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  3. ^ 'Honeytrap' (1987) by Anthony Summers & Stephen Dorril. Chap.2.
  4. ^ a b "Lady Milford Haven Will Marry Friday". The New York Times. 8 July 1964. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  5. ^ Lowry, Cynthia (21 October 1949). "Marquess Talks For Family, Says Mother, Dowager Marchioness". The Evening Independent. AP. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  6. ^ Charles J. Burns (12 January 2021). "The Life and Times of Josephine Hartford, Part II". New York Social Diary. Retrieved 31 July 2021.

External links

Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by Marquess of Milford Haven
Succeeded by