Who is India Hicks? As she celebrates her 56th birthday, we meet the bridesmaid to Charles and Diana who survived to be with us today because she liked to watch Laurel and Hardy…
- She is the granddaughter of Earl Mountbatten and a cousin to King Charles
- READ MORE: the sprawling Mountbatten clan and their bohemian way of life
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She might not have received an invitation to her Godfather’s coronation, but there are few figures more closely associated with the Royal Family than India Hicks.
India, who turns 56 today, is the granddaughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten, uncle to and adviser to Prince Philip, and was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Charles and Diana Spencer.
She has made her name as a model, interior designer and business woman, and lives in the Bahamas with her long-time partner-turned husband David Flint Wood.
India Hicks pictured at home in the Bahamas
India Hicks greets her Godfather, Prince Charles, at a charity polo match at Cirencester Park in Gloucestershire, 2001
India was a bridesmaid at the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. She is second left. Also pictured are Sarah-Jane Gaslee, the bride, Clementine Hambro and Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth
India was one of the five bridesmaids at the 1981 wedding of Diana and Charles, who is her godfather and second cousin.
She is the daughter of interior decorator David Hicks and Lady Pamela Hicks, one of the late Queen’s former ladies-in-waiting and the daughter of the last Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten.
She is still with us today thanks only to a stroke of luck. She had decided to stay at home and watch a Laurel and Hardy film rather than join Mountbatten and others for a Carlingford Lough fishing trip on August 27, 1979.
An IRA bomb blew the boat to pieces killing Mountbatten, the boy who would have been her uncle Nicholas Knatchbull, and others aboard the boat.
India was aged 13, when Charles phoned her personally and asked if she would be a bridesmaid at his 1979 wedding to Diana.
‘I had to practise,’ she later recalled.
‘It was during these rehearsals I got to know Diana, whom I first met at a dress fitting. She always seemed more like a head girl than a princess-in-waiting, with never a shy moment in private.’
India has kept her bridesmaid’s wreath from the ceremony at St Paul’s in its original box.
In November she posted a photograph of her dress – still in perfect condition – on social media.
It was pictured alongside another royal bridesmaid dress – one worn by her mother who, as Lady Pamela Mountbatten, had been a bridesmaid to the late Queen Elizabeth.
India was educated at £40,000-a-year Gordonstoun, near Elgin, Scotland, until she was expelled for inviting boys to her room.
In the 1990s, India modelled for brands including Ralph Lauren, Tod’s, J.Crew, and many others
India married her long-term partner David Flint Wood in 2021 in Oxfordshire
India remembered Wesley as a spirited child, climbing on roofs with her own son, Felix, becoming close friends from a young age (seen)
Wesley was adopted when he was 12, after his mother Lynne- a Bahamian waitress- sadly died of breast cancer (seen as a baby)
India often shares family pictures of the whole family enjoying time together, including this one featuring daughter Domino Flint-Wood, left, and her mother, Lady Pamela Hicks
At the age of 18, India moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to study photograph.
After graduating in 1990, her father introduced her to the Emilio Pucci brand in Florence, Italy, where she modelled swimsuits. Later, she modelled for brands including Ralph Lauren, Tod’s, J. Crew, and many others.
India married her long-term partner David Flint Wood, in 2021 at the age of 54. The pair had moved to the Caribbean together in 1996.
India had been with her partner for 26 years before they exchanged vows at a small Oxfordshire church.
They already had five children together.
Taking place as Covid restrictions were coming to an end, the wedding had just 30 guests.
Despite her family and royal connections, the socialite has worked to earn her keep.
She became a designer and businesswoman, launching a luxury lifestyle business before closing it down in 2022 to spend more time with her children: Wesley, 26, Felix, 24, Amory, 22, Conrad, 18, and Domino, 13.
Wesley was adopted after his mother died of cancer.
India first met his mother Lynne while she was working as a waitress at a local restaurant, the pair became friend and India agreed to help with the boy’s upbringing.
Lynne, a single mother had survived on a low waitressing wage, and had alrady lost both her younger and older sister to breast cancer before she too passed away from the disease.
‘Lynne had other children and many different jobs,’ she previously told MailOnline. ‘I was lucky enough to have the space for an extra child.
‘I had care in the home. It was easy for Wes to be dropped off at our home, which was better than him going to childcare.’
India adopted Wesley, back row right, after his waitress mother died
India praised her godfather King Charles for his ‘patience’ with her as a child and paid tribute to his work through The Prince’s Trust
The designer has paid tribute to her godfather’s work with the Prince’s Trust while wading into the debate over coronation invitations
Lord Mountbatten with his grandchildren on holiday in Ireland, 1974. India Hicks is pictured in the centre in front of her grandfather
India (standing third from left) as a bridesmaid at the wedding of then Prince Charles and Diana
On the eve of the coronation, she said her godfather was ‘considerate’ and ‘patient’ – despite not receiving an invitation.
India posted photos on her Instagram story showing herself outside Buckingham Palace and she also appeared on Australian TV to discuss all things royal ahead of the ceremony in Westminster Abbey during his Coronation.
The designer tagged The Prince’s Trust, the charity her godfather founded, in a video of herself speaking, with the words: ‘Inclusivity, equality, diversity’.
Her visit to the UK came after she posted a photo of herself on Instagram with a caption praising King Charles’s invitations to the coronation which are based on ‘meritocracy’ as she failed to make the list.
India’s mother Lady Pamela is the daughter of Earl Mountbatten, the brother of Prince Philip’s mother.
The 11-year-old Lady Hicks was on holiday in Ireland in 1979 when her grandfather was killed by a bomb planted on his boat
India narrowly escaped the blast herself after choosing to stay and watch a Laurel and Hardy film rather than join her grandfather, cousins, aunt and uncle on the boat.
She serves her godfather’s charity, the Prince’s Trust, as a patron for Women Supporting Women.
After attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II last year, India revealed that she would be undertaking a bicycle ride from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle in a bid to raise money for the monarch’s charity, The Prince’s Trust.
India’s work for her godfather’s charity exists alongside her support for Global Empowerment Mission, a nonprofit that assists in the wake of international disasters.
In May last year, she visited Ukraine alongside her son in support of the organisation, transporting clothing and spending time in a therapy shelter helping Ukrainian children.
Lady Pamela Hicks was one of the bridesmaids at the wedding of Prince Philip to Princess Elizabeth in 1947
India with her mother, Lady Pamela Hicks in 2021. The two are comparing their respective bridesmaid dresses
India Hicks on the beach at Harbour Island, where she has lived since 1996, pictured in 2001
Pictures on Instagram of the property, designed by India and her husband, David Flint Wood, show white-painted walls and comfortable furnishings
‘Designed to look as though it has always been there. Following tropical traditions we built the house on four pylons, to remain as cool as possible throughout the year.
‘The sitting room and two large guest rooms are upstairs, leaving the dining room, kitchen, and remaining bedrooms downstairs.
‘Late morning you might want to wander down the private path to three miles of pink sand beach and lie under our thatched cabanas on the sunbeds, or else there is a hammock slung between two trees, in the garden, somewhere for a siesta after a long lunch.
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