Lord Ivar Mountbatten, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, married James Coyle on Saturday.
It’s the first ever same-sex marriage in the extended royal family — and I think it’s safe to say we’re way more excited about it than Mountbatten’s dog, Rosie.
The wedding took place in a private chapel at his family home in Bridwell Park, Devon, according to Pink News. There were just 60 guests, including Ivar’s three daughters — all of whom were urged to donate to Regain, a charity set up to support tetraplegics to live full, normal lives.
No members of the royal family were present, but the Independent reports that there were numerous messages of congratulations, including from Prince Edward , the Queen’s youngest son.
Mountbatten, 55, was given away by his ex-wife Penelope Thompson. They divorced in 2011, but remain very close — and Mountbatten has admitted previously that his bisexuality was a persistent issue in 17 years of marriage.
“I am a lot happier now, though I am still not 100% comfortable with being gay,” he said in 2016.
“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.”
“I have struggled with my sexuality and in some ways I still do; it has been a real journey to reach this point,” he added. “Simply talking about it in public is a huge step for me. Up to this point, I have had a heterosexual lifestyle, so living with a man is really new. One step at a time.”
While Mountbatten is not in line to reach the throne, he is a part of the Queen’s extended family. Pink News reports that a same-sex marriage from within the direct royal lineage might encounter more issues, as “centuries-old protocols that govern royal life do not generally provide for same-sex spouses.”
And around the world, LGBTQ communities often find themselves unprotected and, often, systematically discriminated against. It’s illegal to be gay in 72 countries — and punishable by death in eight, according to the Guardian.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in the UK since March 13, 2014, and on July 3, 2018, the British government approved a 75-point action plan that included a ban on so-called “gay conversion therapy.”
The plan was announced with the results of the largest national survey of LGBTQ people in the world, revealing that 40% had experienced hate crime, while nearly two-thirds feared holding hands in public.
Although Mountbatten has faced his own struggles in realizing his sexuality, he has previously said that coming out has helped reach a “place I’m happy to be” — and his marriage to Coyle is the final step.
“I suppose if we had met ten years ago a civil partnership would have been nice, but now that marriage between a man and a man is legal it seems the right thing to do,” Mountbatten told the Mail Online. “I have had the whole marriage thing — and been very happy — but James hasn’t. So I see it as a validation of my love for him.”
Related LGBT News More: The UK Will Finally Ban So-Called ‘Gay Conversion’ Therapy
He has engaged in domestic and international activism, including work with LGBT movements in Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Stuart Milk has promoted his uncle’s story and addressed LGBT rights in formal major addresses on multiple continents, including before the United Kingdom House of Lords in 2012, the Italian Chamber of Deputies in 2011, the Panamanian National Assembly in 2010, and Turkish Grand Assembly in 2009. Milk is frequently quoted in international news and seen on broadcast television discussing issues of LGBT inclusion and diversity.
He is also a featured writer and columnist for The Huffington Post, focusing on global human rights. During the 2012 U.S. elections, Milk gave public endorsements as a surrogate for Barack Obama.
In addition to being the President of the Harvey Milk Foundation’s Board of Directors, Stuart also sits as a director on boards and advisory boards of numerous human rights, LGBT rights and youth advocacy organizations including the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), Equality California, International Conference on Disadvantaged Youth, the Coalition for Workforce Solutions, and the International Committee for Minority Justice and Equality.
Milk has been the recipient of international and national awards for his global civil rights work.