Lord Ivar Mountbatten, the cousin to Queen Elizabeth, has become the first member of the royal family to come out as gay.
The 53-year-old Mountbatten is the great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.
Mountbatten said he has now told his family and friends he is gay and introduced them to his partner James Coyle, (pictured above) an airline cabin services director, whom he met while skiing in the Swiss resort Verbier last March.
In an interview on Saturday, the divorced father-of-three 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’m just so pleased now to have found someone who I am happy to call my partner.”
“‘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. I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point.”
While Mountbatten is very happy with his partner, they have an agreement not to do public displays of affection unless it is a greeting to say hi or goodbye.
He said his decision to come out had been supported by his former wife, children and the wider royal family.
In recent years, more members of the royal family have taken steps to speak out on behalf of LGBT rights and in June, Prince William became the first member of the royal family to be photographed for the cover of a gay magazine. using the article to highlight the issue of homophobic and transphobic bullying and its long-lasting mental health consequences.