Charles Allen

The Jewels in the Crown

Maharanis: The Lives and Times of Three Generations of Indian Princesses

By

Viking 351pp £20 order from our bookshop

Two YEARS AGO William Dalrymple’s White Mughals restored romance to Britain’s Indian entanglement with a complex tale of an English gentleman and a Muslim lady drawn together by passion but forced by cultural differences to go their separate ways. Now Lucy Moore comes along to remind us that India, with all its paradoxes and dissonances, has fostered many such romances throughout its history.

 

Maharanis tells of three generations of women born into luxury and privilege as the daughters of maharajas. But just as their fathers had been shorn of their ruling powers by British paramountcy, so the custom of centuries required these princesses to live in the shadows, behind the curtain of purdah – their marriages merely a form of alliance-building in which their wishes and feelings played no part. Inevitably a moment came when the first princess turned on her bewildered parents, stamped her foot and said. ‘Enough. I’m marrying the man I love’ – and got away with it.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In this month's Silenced Voices, Lucy Popescu shines a light on Myanmar's persecution of writers and journalists, p… ,
    • Lecture on war and peace in 19th-century Europe by Professor Sir Richard Evans, Thurs 25 Oct, 6.30pm Europe House… ,
    • 'Why, throughout the world, are so many people fascinated by the fiction and reality of espionage? And why of all p… ,
    • . here on books, Muriel Spark and life's tangled dance ,
    • RT : There aren't enough aggressive subtitles these days: ,
    • Churchill's on the cover of the October edition of the magazine. Piers Brendon reviews two new books about the Brit… ,
    • 'Readers have no more power to predict where the next story is going to take them than the prisoners had to determi… ,