•  A cousin of Queen Elizabeth II became the first member of the British royal family to come out as gay
  • Lord Ivar Mountbatten is currently in a relationship with an airline cabin services director
  • The royal family had long supported LGBT rights

A cousin of Queen Elizabeth II has become the first member of the British royal family to come out as gay.

The 53-year-old Lord Ivar Mountbatten, who is a great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, says he finally feels relieved to openly talk about his sexuality to friends and family members.

In fact, he has already introduced his new partner, airline cabin services director James Coyle whom he met in a ski trip last March, to his loved ones.

“I am a lot happier now, though I am still not 100 per cent comfortable with being gay. ‘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,” he told The Daily Mail.

The Queen’s cousin said that his family has been supportive of his coming out, saying that it was not an issue with relatives.

“Being a Mountbatten was never the problem. It was the generation into which I was born. When I was growing up, it was known as ‘the love that dare not speak its name’, but what’s amazing now is how far we have all come in terms of acceptance,” he said.

Mountbatten was previously married to Penelope Thompson and had three children with her before they divorced in 2011. He had already told Thompson that he was bisexual prior to their marriage.

“I never thought I would get married because I didn’t want to be untruthful. Penny was aware before we got married. I told her I was bisexual, that my attraction went both ways. She was understanding and I will always be grateful to her,” he explained.

Despite their eventual divorce, the two have maintained their friendship.

The royal family has had an open view on LGBT rights. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II herself had long previously expressed support for same-sex couples. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, had already appeared on the cover of Attitude, becoming the first member of the royal family to appear on the cover of a gay magazine.