Earl Mountbatten’s gun is bought by Royal Armouries at auction - Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Royal Armouries has purchased a gold-plated pen-pistol owned by the late Earl Mountbatten of Burma.
The spy-style gun – complete with a concealed trigger and resembling a pen or pencil – was designed and made by the late Maharaja Hanwant Singh of Marwar-Jodhpur and presented by him to Lord Louis in 1948, around the time of Indian Independence.
As the last Viceroy of India and first Governor-General of the Independent State, Lord Louis was presented with the seven-inch, .22 pen pistol, which tucked neatly into a jacket pocket and was completely concealed.
It has since passed into private ownership but was bought by the Royal Armouries last week at auction from Holt’s Auctioneers, following a bid of £13,000.
Mark Murray Flutter, Royal Armouries’ Senior Curator of Firearms said, “As the National Museum of Arms and Armour, the Royal Armouries is both delighted and pleased to have been able to secure for the nation an object so closely associated with one of this country’s most charismatic figures, Earl Mountbatten of Burma – especially as it relates to his relationship with India during the last days before Independence. It is also both an aesthetically and technically interesting piece that fits within the Royal Armouries’ collections. We hope to have it on show to the public in the near future.”
The uncle of the Duke of Edinburgh, Lord Louis was the great grandson of Queen Victoria and second cousin to HM The Queen, Elizabeth II. Widely viewed as a Second World War hero, he was a close friend of the Royal Family and enjoyed a close relationship with Prince Charles.
Lord Louis died in August 1979, after he was murdered by the IRA while holidaying with his family on their boat in Ireland. Three others perished in the bomb blast, including his 14-year-old grandson and a 15-yearold crew member.
The pen-pistol is expected to go on display at the Royal Armouries in the near future – the date and venue have yet to be confirmed.
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