Mountbatten death 'helped North peace process'
Published 16/03/2014 | 02:30
HIS murder was one of the most infamous atrocities of the Troubles and the one that was a huge personal tragedy to members of the British royal family. But a publication which is staunchly devoted to the British monarchy has conceded that the killing of Lord Louis Mountbatten by the IRA played a key role in helping to bring an end to the Troubles.
Royal Life has published a profile of the late British royal, a cousin of Queen Elizabeth, who was killed during a family holiday when republican terrorists blew up his boat off the coast of Mullaghmore, Co Sligo, in August 1979.
The atrocity, which occurred at the height of the Troubles and which also claimed the lives of two teenage boys, devastated the royal family and brought worldwide condemnation.
But reflecting on the murder of the 79-year-old aristocrat, which occurred on the same day the IRA ambushed and killed 18 British soldiers in the North, the royalist publication said part of its legacy was to persuade hardliners to start seeking a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in the North. In its profile of Mountbatten, who was a decorated Second World War veteran and the last British Viceroy of India, the magazine says: "Ironically, Louis's murder, widely viewed as a cowardly and despicable act at the time, may actually have helped the peace process in Northern Ireland, alienating some who had supported violence and persuading them to back diplomacy instead."
The magazine recalls that Prince Charles, who was mentored by the late royal he used to call 'Honorary Grandfather', broke his silence on the tragedy decades later when he spoke to relatives of 9/11 victims at a service commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack.
Referring to the 1979 murder of his "greatly loved great uncle", Prince Charles said: "At the time I remember feeling intense anger, even hatred of those who could even contemplate doing such a thing.
"But then I began to reflect that all the greatest wisdom that has come down to us over the ages speaks of the overriding need to break the law of cause and effect, and somehow to find the strength to search for a more positive way of overcoming the evil in men's hearts."
More recently, in July 2012, Martin McGuinness said he addressed the killing of Mountbatten with Queen Elizabeth when the two met and shook hands during the jubilee visit to the North.
The former IRA commander said: "I said to the Queen and the Duke they too had lost a loved one."