Lady Amanda Ellingworth
Lady Amanda Patricia Victoria Ellingworth (née Knatchbull) (born 26 June 1957) is a daughter of Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, granddaughter of Earl Mountbatten of Burma and a distant relative of Queen Elizabeth II.
In early 1974, the earl began corresponding with his godson and great-nephew, Charles, Prince of Wales, offering advice on dating and the selection of a future consort: "In a case like yours, the man should sow his wild oats and have as many affairs as he can before settling down, but for a wife he should choose a suitable, attractive, and sweet-charactered girl before she has met anyone else she might fall for... It is disturbing for women to have experiences if they have to remain on a pedestal after marriage." Mountbatten had a unique qualification for tendering marital advice to the heir to the throne, having arranged the first documented meeting of Charles' parents at Dartmouth Royal Naval College on 22 July 1939. He recommended that the 25-year-old prince get done with his bachelor's experimentation, and mentioned his granddaughter as a prospective consort.
According to his biographer, Jonathan Dimbleby (for whom Prince Charles himself arranged access to unpublished royal diaries and family correspondence), "[I]n 1974, following his correspondence with Mountbatten on the subject, the Prince had tentatively raised the question of marriage to Amanda with her mother (and his godmother) Patricia Brabourne. She was sympathetic, but counselled against raising the issue with her daughter, who had yet to celebrate her seventeenth birthday."
This did not daunt Mountbatten, who, four years later, obtained an invitation for himself and Amanda to accompany Charles on his planned 1980 tour of India. Both fathers, however, objected; Prince Philip complaining that the Prince of Wales would be eclipsed by his famous uncle (who had served as the last British Viceroy and first Governor-General of India), while Lord Brabourne warned that a joint visit would rivet media attention on the cousins before they could decide on becoming a couple, thereby potentially dashing the very prospect for which Mountbatten hoped.
James Stanhope, 7th and last Earl Stanhope, had apparently been impressed by the young Prince Charles, and hoped that he would one day reside at Chevening in Kent, the stately home which served as the traditional family seat of the Earls Stanhope. In 1974, while corresponding with Amanda's mother and grandfather about a possible future with her, the Prince had accepted the prospect of living on the estate. Amanda's paternal great-aunt had been Lady Eileen Browne, daughter of the 6th Marquess of Sligo, whose barren marriage to the last Earl Stanhope (who had no other near relations) prompted him to bequeath Chevening to the British nation, placing it at the disposal of the Royal Family or of a government minister. If Amanda were to become Princess of Wales, the Prince's acceptance of Chevening would make some familial sense.
But this was not to be, although the Prince did visit the house several times. In a note of April 24, 1978 to his private secretary, Sir David Checketts, Prince Charles observed, "I know there are advantages -- particularly financial ones -- in the Chevening set up, but I regret to say I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that they are the only advantages."
Before Charles was to depart alone for India, Mountbatten was assassinated by the IRA in August 1979. When Charles returned, he proposed to Amanda. However, in addition to her grandfather, she had lost her grandmother and youngest brother Nicholas in the attack and now recoiled from the prospect of becoming a core member of the Royal Family. In June 1980 Prince Charles wrote to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to renounce future residency at Chevening. (Since then, Chevening has been used by the British government to house successive foreign secretaries and Cabinet members.). Weeks later, he purchased Highgrove House in Gloucestershire. By then, according to Dimbleby, Amanda Knatchbull had declined the Prince's proposal of marriage, and he would soon begin courtship of Lady Diana Spencer.
References and notes 
- Junor, Penny (2005). "The Duty of an Heir". The Firm: the troubled life of the House of Windsor. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-312-35274-5. OCLC 59360110. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
- Edwards, Phil (31 October 2000). "The Real Prince Philip" (TV documentary). Real Lives: channel 4's portrait gallery. Channel 4. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
- Dimbleby, Jonathan. "The Prince of Wales: A Biography". William Morrow and Company. New York, 1994. pp. 204–206, 263-265, 299-300. ISBN 0-688-12996-X.
- Sparrow, Andrew (2010-05-18). "Nick Clegg and William Hague to share country house". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-18.
- "Royal couple going on tour amid reports of marital rift". London: Eugene Register. 1987-01-10.
- Willis, Daniel A., The Descendants of King George I of Great Britain, Clearfield Company, 2002, p. 719. ISBN 0-8063-5172-1