Doreen Knatchbull, Baroness Brabourne

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Doreen Knatchbull, Dowager Lady Brabourne, CI (29 May 1896 – 28 August 1979) was an Anglo-Irish aristocrat, socialite and victim of the Provisional IRA.

Order of the Crown of India

The Imperial Order of the Crown of India is an order in the British honours system. The Order was established by Queen Victoria in 1878, when she became Empress of India. The Order is open only to women; no new appointments have been made after the Partition of India in 1947. The Order was limited to British princesses, wives or female relatives of Indian princes and wives or female relatives of any person who held the office of:

A socialite is a person who plays a prominent role in high society. A socialite spends a significant amount of time attending various fashionable social gatherings.


Family life

Doreen, Dowager Lady Brabourne was born The Lady Doreen Geraldine Browne, the third daughter of George Ulick Browne 6th Marquess of Sligo and Agatha Stewart Hodgson, granddaughter of William Forsyth QC. On 22 January 1919, she married Hon. Michael Knatchbull, a son of Cecil Knatchbull-Hugessen, 4th Baron Brabourne and his eventual successor.

Marquess of Sligo

Marquess of Sligo is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created in 1800 for John Browne, 3rd Earl of Altamont. The Marquess holds the subsidiary titles of Baron Mount Eagle, of Westport in the County of Mayo, Viscount Westport, of Westport in the County of Mayo, Earl of Altamont, in the County of Mayo, Earl of Clanricarde and Baron Monteagle, of Westport in the County of Mayo. All these titles are in the Peerage of Ireland, except the Barony of Monteagle, which is in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The latter peerage entitled the Marquesses to a seat in the House of Lords prior to the House of Lords Act 1999. The Earldom of Clanricarde was inherited by the sixth Marquess in 1916 according to a special remainder in the letters patent.

Michael Knatchbull, 5th Baron Brabourne British politician

Michael Herbert Rudolf Knatchbull, 5th Baron Brabourne, was a British peer and soldier, the son of the 4th Baron Brabourne.

Baron Brabourne

Baron Brabourne, of Brabourne in the County of Kent, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1880 for the Liberal politician Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen, the second son of Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Baronet, of Mersham Hatch. He had previously represented Sandwich in the House of Commons and served as Under-Secretary of State for Home Affairs and Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Lord Brabourne had assumed by Royal licence the additional surname of Hugessen in 1849. His son, the second Baron, represented Rochester in Parliament as a Liberal.

They had two children:

Norton Cecil Michael Knatchbull, 6th Baron Brabourne, was a British peer and soldier, the son of His Excellency The 5th Baron Brabourne, Governor of Bengal.

John Ulick Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne,, professionally known as John Brabourne, was a British peer, television producer and Oscar-nominated film producer. Married to a daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten, Brabourne was a survivor of the bombing which killed his father-in-law, mother and son.

On 15 February 1933, her husband succeeded his father as 5th Baron Brabourne and Doreen became The Lady Brabourne.


On 27 August 1979, the Dowager Lady Brabourne was seriously injured in an explosion which killed Lord Mountbatten (the father of her younger son's wife), their grandson Nicholas, and a local fishing boy Paul Maxwell, on Donegal Bay, County Sligo. A bomb had been planted in Lord Mountbatten's fishing boat by a member of the Provisional IRA. Lady Brabourne died the next day.

Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma British statesman and naval officer

Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, was a British Royal Navy officer and statesman, an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and second cousin once removed of Queen Elizabeth II. During the Second World War, he was Supreme Allied Commander, South East Asia Command (1943–1946). He was the last Viceroy of India (1947) and the first Governor-General of independent India (1947–1948).

Donegal Bay bay in Ireland

Donegal Bay is an inlet in the northwest of Ireland. Three counties – Donegal to the north and west, Leitrim and Sligo to the south – have shorelines on the bay, which is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The town of Donegal and the River Eske lie at the head of the bay.

County Sligo County in the Republic of Ireland

County Sligo is a county in Ireland. It is located in the Border Region and is part of the province of Connacht. Sligo is the administrative capital and largest town in the county. Sligo County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county is 65,535 according to the 2016 census, making it the 3rd most populated county in the province. It is noted for Benbulben Mountain, one of Ireland’s most distinctive natural landmarks.


Her name is commemorated by the eponymous Lady Brabourne College, which was established in 1939 as the first women's college for Muslim women in Calcutta, India. She took the initiative in establishing this institution following complaints from Muslim girls that they were discriminated against by the Hindu establishment at the elite Bethune College, which is incidentally the first women's college in India.

Lady Brabourne College

Lady Brabourne College (LBC) is one of the premier institutions for women's education in Kolkata, India. The college admits undergraduates and post-graduates, and awards degrees from the University of Calcutta. It is a state government administered college and is in one of the more cosmopolitan localities of the city.

Bethune College First Female College in Bengal

Bethune College is a women's college located in Kolkata, India, and affiliated to the University of Calcutta. It was established as a girls' school in 1849, and as a college in 1879. It is the oldest women's college in Asia.

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Edward Knatchbull-Hugessen, 1st Baron Brabourne British Liberal politician

Edward Hugessen Knatchbull-Hugessen, 1st Baron Brabourne, known as E. H. Knatchbull-Hugessen, was a British Liberal politician. He served as Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department under Lord Russell in 1866 and under William Ewart Gladstone from 1868 to 1871 and was also Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies under Gladstone from 1871 to 1874. In 1880 he was elevated to the peerage as Baron Brabourne.

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Cecil Marcus Knatchbull-Hugessen, 4th Baron Brabourne was an English cricketer, and later a British peer.

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Penelope Meredith Mary Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma,, known until 2005 as Lady Romsey, and until 2017 as The Lady Brabourne, is the wife of The Rt. Hon Norton Louis Philip Knatchbull, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and a British peeress. High Steward of Romsey since 2011. Founder of the Leonora Children's Cancer Fund, now the Edwina Mountbatten and Leonora Children's Foundation. President of The Compassionate Friends. Patron of Countess Mountbatten's Own Legion of Frontiersmen of the Commonwealth. Patron or President of various other local organisations and charities. She shared the running of the Broadlands Estates and family businesses with her husband until she took over the enterprises full time when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.