We look at the tragic true story of Leonora from The Crown

The Crown: Insider reveals which royals have watched show

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The Crown season five came out a couple of weeks ago and the show quickly shot to the top of most watched programmes in the world. The new series featured the heartbreaking story of Leonora Knatchbull (played by Clara Graham) and how her family was rocked by her death. Her mother Penelope Knatchbull (Natascha McElhone) was grief-stricken and sought solace in carriage riding with some encouragement from Prince Philip (Jonathan Pryce). Many viewers are keen to know more about Leonora and the true story behind these scenes from The Crown.

Who is Leonora in The Crown?

Leonora was the daughter of Norton Knatchbull, 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma and Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma and was born in 1986.

Along with Leonora, Penelope and Norton had three children in total including son Nicholas and daughter Alexandra.

Leonora had kidney cancer and sadly died in 1991 aged just five and as The Crown depicts, she was buried on the family grounds of Broadlands.

In 1994, the charity Leonora Children’s Cancer Fund was set up and was merged into The Edwina Mountbatten Trust in 2010.

The charity provided funding to train nurses to care for children suffering from cancer.

Leonora was linked to the Royal Family through her father Norton, whose grandfather was Louis Mountbatten and King Charles III is his second cousin.

Historian Koenig said it was one the “saddest” stories in the Royal Family’s recent history.

While holidaying together, Charles and Diana had been informed by Penny and Norton of Leonora’s illness.

Koenig said: “I remember I was in England that day, a couple of months before her death and they were Trooping the Colour and they were, of course, on the balcony. You see little Leonora with the cap on her head.”

She went on to say: “This was family. Norton was Louis Mountbatten’s son, Philip was his godfather.

“He was godfather to William. He and Charles were at Gordonstoun together although one year apart.”

The royal author, who has published Queen Victoria’s Descendants and Queen Victoria’s Descendants: A Companion Edition, went on to say: “Charles was also best man at their wedding 

“In June 1991 Leonora was on the balcony after the trooping. She died in October. 

“Both Charles and Diana would visit the family – and Leonora in her final days.

“Charles and Diana were on a royal tour of Canada and could not attend the funeral.

“The only senior royal to attend was the duchess. Charles did speak at the memorial service.”

Koenig shed further light about the tragedy, saying: “On the night of Leonora’s death Charles drove to Broadlands to be with the Romseys before he and Diana left for Canada.” 

Adding: “Leonora’s death certainly affected Charles and Diana, especially Charles as he was close with his cousin Norton.”

A friend of Charles told Elizabeth Grice, who interviewed the Romseys in May of 1992: “He is a remarkable man with a deep, generous of character.”

The Crown season 5 is streaming on Netflix now

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