The Royal Family Will Celebrate Its First Same-Sex Wedding This Summer

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip standing on Buckingham Palace balcony after weddingQueen Elizabeth and Prince Philip gathered with members of the royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their wedding on November 20, 1947. Credit: Popperfoto/Getty Images

The royal family is bucking its traditional image this year in a number of ways, but perhaps none more than with Lord Ivar Mountbatten’s impending wedding later this summer, which will mark the brood’s first same-sex wedding.

Mountbatten, who is a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, made headlines when he came out as gay back in 2016, and his wedding to partner James Coyle signifies a new era for the family, which most recently welcomed Meghan Markle, who is biracial, into their fold.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Mountbatten, 55, explained that the ceremony will be a small affair, meant for just his and Coyle’s immediate families, including Mountbatten’s ex-wife, Penny, and their three children—Ella, 22, Alix, 20, and Luli, 15—as well as a few close friends. The ceremony is to be held at a private chapel in Devon, England, with a few very untraditional details.

Firstly, Penny will actually be the one to give Mountbatten away during the ceremony (“It was the girls’ idea,” she told the Daily Mail. “It makes me feel quite emotional. I’m really very touched.”). Secondly, Mountbatten and Coyle have both agreed to forgo some of the more traditional wedding rituals, like a first dance or cutting the cake.

“We’ll be pronounced partners in marriage, but the ceremony itself will be very small,” he told the paper. “It’s just for the girls and close family and friends. Everyone else—about 120 friends—will arrive for the party afterwards. 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.”

In terms of a cake, Mountbatten said, “We’ll probably have cheese instead of cake.”

Mountbatten first came out to Penny as bisexual prior to proposing, back in the early ‘90s. At the time, Penny told the Daily Mail, she accepted Mountbatten for his honesty and his sexuality; the pair married in 1994 and divorced in 2011. She kept mum about his sexuality until he felt comfortable coming out publicly himself in 2016. The two remain close friends today.

“What I don’t think Ivar realizes is how much he has changed as a man since he came out,” she said. “James is hugely responsible for that because he’s so much fun. Ivar is so much more relaxed these days. He’s so much kinder. He’s become a great cook. I now call him Fanny Cradock. He probably wasn’t even aware that by keeping his sexuality a secret it was really quite tormenting him. Now it’s out [and] he’s a completely different person. Everybody says they’ve never seen him happier.”

Secure your ideal wedding vision by starting with The Knot’s Style Quiz, here.