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Lord Mountbatten's influence is focus of University of Southampton conference

Published: 
14 June 2004

Known as 'Dickie' to his family, he was more familiarly known to British people as 'Lord Louis' and was given the title 'Earl Mountbatten of Burma' in recognition of his services in the Far East.

Lord Louis Mountbatten was arguably one of the most influential figures of the last century. A major international conference at the University of Southampton will examine what his life and times reveal about the place of constitutional monarchy in modern Europe.

The three-day conference 'Lord Mountbatten and constitutional monarchy in the 20th century' (11-13 July) is hosted by the University's Centre for the Study for Britain and its Empire (CSBE). Speakers include Philip Ziegler, author of a biography of Lord Mountbatten, and author and Royal biographer Hugo Vickers.

Miles Taylor, Professor of History at the University and Director of the CSBE, commented: "Mountbatten was perhaps the last grand court politician of modern Europe. He played a major role in British global strategy for over thirty years, leaving his mark on matters as diverse as the partition of India, defence policy in the Cold War, the development of atomic weapons, and immigration from the Commonwealth.

"At the same time he occupied a unique place in British political culture in the middle decades of the twentieth century as unofficial Cabinet adviser, imperial trouble-shooter, eminence grise to the house of Windsor and the lynchpin of what was left of the royal families of Europe."

The University of Southampton is home to the Mountbatten papers, an archive of international significance. The archive, housed in the University's Hartley Library, contains a wealth of material, both private and official, covering the whole of Lord Mountbatten's life, including approximately 250,000 papers and 50,000 photographs.

The conference is open to members of the public.

Notes for editors

  1. Conference programme
  2. Sunday 11 July
    2.30: Registration
    4.00-6.00: Session 1: Dynasty (chair: Miles Taylor, Univ. Southampton)
    'The House of Hesse and Anglo-German diplomacy before 1914' (Roderick McLean, Scottish Executive)
    'A Royal Alliance: Court Diplomacy in Anglo-Japanese Relations, 1900-41' (Antony Best, LSE)
    'Elizabeth and Edwina: Perceptions of Royal Women, 1936-1945' (Kara Smith, Univ. Alabama)
    7.00: dinner
    8.00: Plenary lecture 1: 'Mountbatten and the Royal Houses of Europe' (Hugo Vickers)
  3. Monday 12 July
    9.00-11.00: Session 2: War (chair: Antony Best, LSE)
    'Roundtable on Mountbatten and SEAC' (Nicholas Tarling, Univ. Auckland, John Springhall, Univ. Ulster, Peter Dennis, ADFA, Univ. New South Wales)
    11.30: Visit to Broadlands
    2.00: Session 3: Myth
    'The Mountbatten myth' (Adrian Smith, Univ. Southampton)
    Screening of 'Mountbatten at the movies'
    3.00: Plenary lecture 2: 'Mountbatten and India' (Philip Ziegler)
    4.15-6.00: Session 4: India (chair: Ian Copland, Univ. Monash)
    'The Princes and the General: Mountbatten, the Royal Family and influence in post-independence India and Burma' (Stephen Ashton, Institute of Commonwealth Studies)
    'Mountbatten: The Challenge of Partition' (Tom Fraser, Univ. Ulster)
    'Out of India: Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark, Princess Marie of Greece and Denmark, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and Pandit Jahawarlal Nehru' (Poul Pedersen, Univ. Aarhus)
    7.30: Conference banquet
  4. Tuesday 13 July
    9.00: Session 5: Monarchy (chair: Adrian Smith, Univ. Southampton)
    'The Monarchy and Public Values in the Inter-War Years' (Philip Williamson, Univ. Durham)
    'Media and Monarchy in the Mid-Twentieth Century' (Sian Nicholas, Univ. Aberystwyth)
    'Mountbatten and Caricature' (Nick Hiley, Univ. Kent)
    11.00 - 1.00: Session 6: Empire (chair: Miles Taylor, Univ. Southampton)
    'Mountbatten and the End of Empire in the 1950s' (Nick Owen, Queens College, Univ. Oxford)
    'Mountbatten and Naval Defence Strategy' (Eric Grove, Univ. Hull)
    'By Invitation Only: Lord Mountbatten, Prince Philip and the Attempt to Create a Commonwealth 'Bilderberg Group', 1964-1966' (Philip Murphy, Univ. Reading)
    'Mountbatten and UK Nuclear Weapons Policy' (John Simpson & Mark Smith, Univ. Southampton)
    2.00: close of conference
  5. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has over 19,200 students and 4800 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £250 million.

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