Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Lord Mountbatten's grandson Timothy remembers explosion that killed twin brother 

Four people died in the 1978 attack

lord mountbatten
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
Share this:

The Crown's opening episode looks at the tragic deaths of Lord Mountbatten, his son-in-law's mother Dowager Lady Brabourne, his grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and a crew member Paul Maxwell in a boat explosion orchestrated by the IRA in 1978. 

MORE: Did these moments in The Crown season four really happen? Find out here

Nicholas, 14, was tragically killed in the explosion, while his twin brother Timothy survived. In 2010, he spoke about the attack that killed three of his close family members in his book From a Clue Blue Sky: Surviving the Mountbatten bomb. 

WATCH: The Crown season four looks at Lord Mountbatten's death

In an interview on his website, Timothy opened up about losing his twin brother when they were teenagers, and the profound impact it had on his life. 


Charles Dance plays Lord Mountbatten in The Crown

He wrote: "The bomb left me with a legacy of mental and emotional wounds that refused to go away. After more than 20 years I decided to heal myself. For over a year I returned to Ireland in a series of private visits and underwent a vital process which allowed me to say goodbye to Nicholas, my identical twin who died in the explosion and discover a path in which I could forgive. 

"This journey motivated me to share my story with others who may also have suffered trauma or grief." 

MORE: Viewers are saying the same thing about The Crown season four

MORE: Princess Diana actress Emma Corrin reveals William and Harry's reaction to new series

MORE: 12 Princess Diana dresses we want to see Emma Corrin wear on The Crown series 4

Speaking about his memories of the attack, he added: "My family and I were relaxed and happy going out onto a flat calm sea in my grandfather’s fishing boat. My memories are intensely clear in short bursts. I remember climbing onto the roof of the cabin and talking to my grandfather who was steering. 

timothy knatchbull

Timothy Knatchbull with Prince Charles and Camilla

"I have a distant memory of the sound of the explosion and of a very violent sensation and then nothing. Until a minute or two later lying in a boat and hearing anxious Irish voices talking at me. I felt intensely cold and knew that something was awfully wrong with me yet I didn’t quite know what it was. Another snatched memory of being put into the ambulance and seeing my father, and then later waking up in hospital." 

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

More TV and Film

See more