Nicholas Knatchbull Memorial Bursaries

The Nicholas Knatchbull Memorial Dinner

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
St. James's Palace

On December 15th 2004 at 6pm at St James’s Palace, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duke of York attended a reception before the Nicholas Knatchbull Memorial Dinner. Following the departure of the Princes, there was a dinner in the Palace for 180 guests drawn from the business community. The speakers were Timothy Knatchbull, Sir Howard Stringer (Chairman of the Sony Corporation of America, and himself a Dragon School parent), Mairi Eastwood (Dragon School governor), and the dinner chairman, one of Nicholas’ Dragon School friends, Mark Esiri, Chairman of King Street Partners. Another of Nicholas’ friends, Harry Dalmeny, chairman of Sotheby’s Olympia, conducted an auction of 7 unique items.

The evening produced a net profit for the charity of £200,000 on the night. In the following days, pledges from guests amounting to a further £150,000 were received.


HRH The Prince of Wales, Sir David Frost and Sir Howard Stringer

HRH The Prince of Wales, Sir David Frost and Sir Howard Stringer

HRH with Gary Ralfe, CEO of De Beers, and former Dragon School stooge, and Mrs Ralfe

HRH with Gary Ralfe, CEO of De Beers, and former Dragon School stooge, and Mrs Ralfe

Knatchbull Concert

Many people recall the August Bank Holiday of 1979 when Nicholas Knatchbull, aged 14, was killed by an IRA bomb, alongside his grandfather, Lord Mountbatten, his grandmother, Doreen, Lady Brabourne, and Paul Maxwell, a fifteen year old helping out on the Mountbatten family's fishing boat. Nicholas, and his identical twin brother Timothy who survived the bomb, had left the Dragon School the previous summer. Their former class mates and everyone connected with the Dragon School were deeply shocked.

One of those class mates, Levon Parikian, is now an orchestra conductor. On hearing of the Nicholas Knatchbull Memorial Bursaries appeal, he suggested holding a concert. A committee was formed under the chairmanship of John Marsh (OD 1953), and on May 16th 2004, the Knatchbull Concert was held at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre, conducted by Lev Parikian, and sponsored by Guest Invest Ltd. Nicholas' parents, Lord Brabourne and Lady Mountbatten, were guests of honour.

Performers comprised members of the London Chamber Orchestra and stars connected to the Dragon, including the actor Robert Hardy (formerly a Dragon grandfather), the tenor Hal Cazalet (who left the Dragon in 1982) and the soprano Ann Mackay (a current Dragon parent). The Dragon School Choir performed a world premiere of 'Penny Toys'.

The reaction and support from the capacity audience of 250 was fantastic; profits from ticket sales totalled an estimated £30,000 and a further pledge of £10,000 was received on the night from one member of the audience. Advertising in the souvenir programme underwrote the entire cost of the evening, allowing all ticket sales to go to the appeal without deduction.

The evening was a unique occasion in the school’s cultural life, and was recorded on a double album CD. Please help us generate further funds by ordering copies for yourself and friends. Click here to order the CD. Production of the CD has been paid for by a benefactor, so every penny of the £15 price will go to Nicholas' memorial bursary.



Knatchbull Memorial Plaque

In 1975 Lord Mountbatten unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the new dining hall. His grandson Nicholas Knatchbull, aged 10, was in the audience for the ceremony.

On June 10, 2004, Nicholas' godfather, HRH the Prince of Wales, unveiled a plaque in his memory, alongside the one Lord Mountbatten unveiled. Hundreds of current and former Dragon staff and pupils, together with Nicholas' friends and family attended. Afterwards, Nicholas's identical twin brother Timothy hosted a lunch at the Cherwell Boathouse, and showed a 1975 BBC film about the Dragon.

Details of the ceremony can also be viewed on Prince Charles' web site: click here to view


Bursary set up in pupil's honour

Prince Charles visited Oxford yesterday and paid an emotional tribute to his godson, who was killed in an IRA bomb explosion 25 years ago.
The Prince of Wales arrived by helicopter at the Dragon School to unveil a plaque in memory of former pupil Nicholas Knatchbull, 14. A line of pupils greeted the Prince on the school sports field and he spent 20 minutes chatting to them and shaking their hands.
Nicholas, a former pupil at the school, was killed alongside his grandfather, the Queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, when a bomb exploded on their fishing boat off Mullaghmore, County Sligo, in August, 1979.
The family had been spending the summer at the earl's castle in the north west of the Irish Republic when the attack happened. A local boy employed to work on the boat, Paul Maxwell, 15, was also killed. Yesterday would have been his 40th birthday.
The IRA admitted planting the bomb and Thomas McMahon was later convicted of the three murders.
During the ceremony in the school hall, Prince Charles recalled that at the age of 16 he was asked to become godfather to Nicholas and his identical twin, Timothy.
He described the twins, his first godchildren, as "hilarious" and said they were always pulling his leg. He added: "They were very special because as children when I read to them in bed sometimes they actually paid attention.
"They even paid attention to the book I wrote for my brothers when they were small -- The Old Man of Lochnagar. Not everyone paid attention."
Standing beside the plaque that Lord Mountbatten himself unveiled when he officially opened the school's dining room, Prince Charles said: "As you can imagine, I was absolutely struck dumb, almost destroyed, when I heard about this terrible disaster 25 years ago.
"When I think about it now of course, one realises just how much we miss all those who lost their lives on that fateful occasion. But Nicky's spirit still lives on."
The Prince also spoke of his "enormous pleasure" that since the loss of his twin, Timothy had found happiness with his wife, Isabella.
He said: "They were so close that Timothy had such a difficult time the last 25 years in being the one left behind."
Timothy was joined at the ceremony by old school friends, former teachers and his mother, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. His father, Lord Brabourne, could not make it because of illness.
A bursary has been set up in memory of Nicholas and will be used to pay school fees for children who could not otherwise afford to attend the Dragon School.
Pupil Minnie Brown, 11, was among the children who performed two songs for Prince Charles during the ceremony.


Nicholas [left] and Timothy with their mother on Lord Mountbatten's Shadow

Nicholas [left] and Timothy with their mother on Lord Mountbatten's Shadow V. Ireland, August 1967