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Sun Jan 11, 2015, 10:51 PM

Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary review – a radical Indian royal in the heart of empire

what do you do if you are the daughter of an estranged Indian royal family marooned in the heart of late-Victorian and Edwardian London? You join the ranks of the various revolutionaries and other assorted malcontents, while maintaining social proprieties to the very end.

The BBC broadcaster Anita Anand tells the beguiling story of Sophia Duleep Singh, from exile in the Suffolk country estate of Elveden to the suffragette battleground of Westminster, via various trips to her ancestors’ home. Anand vividly paints the picture of society girl turned revolutionary and her father, who spends most of his years fulminating against the British and wanly plotting against them.

Sophia takes the well-travelled route of private tutors and debs balls. “The timid girl who used to squirm before the camera was now an unabashed show-off. She would strike absurd poses for newspaper photographers, marrying her two greatest loves: high fashion and dog-breeding. On one voyage, back home to north-western India aboard the SS Barbarossa, a ship “designed to soothe and pamper even the tautest of travellers”, Sophia paid considerable attention to the etiquette of the captain’s banqueting table and avoiding the more vulgar guests.

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So how did this spoilt princess, goddaughter of Queen Victoria, become a doughty fighter for women’s rights? Her turbulent family history influenced her greatly. Her feisty sister, Bamba, initially secured a place at Northwestern University, near Chicago, to study medicine. The arrival and ambitions of this exotic lady were a matter of fascination and consternation. “Although several universities were admitting women medical students, many Americans found the practice distasteful, believing like their British counterparts that women doctors were an affront to the natural order,” Anand writes. The offer was withdrawn and Bamba returned to the UK despondent, joining her similarly downcast elder sister Catherine.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jan/11/sophia-princess-suffragette-revolutionary-anita-anand-review-radical-indian-royal

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Reply Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary review – a radical Indian royal in the heart of empire (Original post)
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 OP
Luminous Animal Jan 2015 #1

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Jan 11, 2015, 11:05 PM

1. Wow! Thanks for this.

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