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Two thousand eighteen is shaping up to be a historic year for the royal family. After welcoming African American actress and divorcee Meghan Markle into the family in May, the royals will witness yet another milestone when Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, Lord Ivar Mountbatten, marries his partner, James Coyle, later this summer. Their union will be the first gay marriage within the royal family, which is a huge deal.
After ending his 16-year marriage with wife Penny in 2010, Lord Ivar publicly came out as gay in 2016. As Lord Ivar told DailyMail.com, Penny has always been supportive of his sexuality, since before they were even wed — he confided in her after just two months of dating that he identified as bisexual. And even now, Penny is still extremely close with her ex-husband and his groom-to-be, James. In fact, she plans to give Ivar away at his summer nuptials. Cue the happy tears!
Ivar and Penny have three daughters together — Ella, Alex, and Luli — and with James, they are the epitome of a modern family, or a “funny threesome” as Ivar put it. Penny and James became fast friends when he and Ivar began dating in 2015. The two are now tag-teaming to arrange the wedding. Like their family unit, the celebration will be completely non-traditional.
“We'll have lovely food and really good music, but there won't be two men in tuxedos on a cake, white doves or anything twee or contrived like that,” James told DailyMail.com. “We'll probably have cheese, instead of cake,” Ivar added. According to James, there wasn’t even a formal proposal, “just an acceptance of this great love. He cares. I care. The girls are very accepting.”
The couple has invited a small number of close family and friends to the ceremony and about 120 friends will attend the reception.
DailyMail.com reports Ivar’s entire extended family has given he and James their blessing, including Ivar’s close friend, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex. Whether or not Queen Elizabeth, who has advocated for LGBTQ rights in the past, will attend the wedding is still up in the air.
A same-sex marriage is uncharted territory for the British royals and because of that, new “royal rules” must be made. For example, as of right now, it’s unclear what James’ title will be once he marries a Lord. Traditionally, when a Lord marries a woman, she takes the title of “Lady” — but understandably, that might not fly with James.
DailyMail.com reports the Equality (Titles) Bill, which is a bill that would make it possible for James to accept the title of 'Lord' once married to Ivar, the same way a woman would accept the title of 'Lady', is currently stuck in the "Committee" stage of Parliament. Ivar and James’ union may be the push the bill needs to be passed (our fingers are crossed!).
Royal family's first gay wedding: The extraordinary story of the Queen's cousin Lord Ivar Mountbatten and the 'gorgeous beast' he's set to marry, as he is given away by his VERY understanding ex-wife https://t.co/Cvm9AiMYF5— NettyRoyal (@nettyroyal) June 16, 2018
Although Penny encouraged Ivar to be open about his sexuality during their marriage, Ivar was still hiding his true self from the rest of the world. Now, in his mid-50s, he is finally able to live honestly and freely with James (and Penny) at his side. Cheers to the funny threesome and the rest of the royal family!
Written by: Olivia Harvey