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THE BEGUM

During one of my trips to India, I met a rather unique maharani. Her husband owned India’s most beautiful library, which was filled with ancient manuscripts about medicine and botany. She was short and round. She wore real Christmas decorations wrapped around her neck as a sort of necklace. And yet on each of her little pudgy fingers shone an enormous diamond. Shortly after my arrival, a BBC news team arrived and the journalist asked her: “How many windows does your (gigantic) palace have in it?”With a flick of her diamond covered hand, the maharani said: “In India, we don’t count the windows, we count our palaces.” The interview, that had begun badly, took a turn for the worse.

The young left-wing people from the BBC were increasingly agitated by the maharani’s clear conscience. One of them could not resist saying: “So, in fact, your Highness, you are completely out of touch with your people!” – “Me? Out of touch with my people!” she answered back indignantly, “whereas six chambermaids sleep every night on the my bedroom floor….” There were mutterings that once upon a time this same lady had had a French gardener brought in to cultivate her roses, and she then took him as her lover. He had done such a good job; he’d ended up in her bed. Then, once he had fallen out of favour, in no time at all she had had him castrated.

 


by Prince Michael of Greece