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Daughter of an Empire

by Lady Pamela Hicks

Few families can boast of not one but two saints among their ancestors, and with a great aunt who was Grand Duchess of Russia, a grandfather admired by Grace Kelly, and a grandmother who was not only a princess but could also argue the finer points of naval law, Pamela Mountbatten entered a remarkable family when she born in Madrid at the very end of the 'Roaring Twenties'.

  • Date of publication:
  • 25 October 2012
  • Publisher:
  • Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Daughter of the glamorous heiress Edwina Ashley and Lord Louis Mountbatten, Pamela spent much of her early life with her sister, nannies and servants – not to mention a menagerie of animals. Her parents’ vast social circle included royalty, film stars and politicians – Noel Coward invited Pamela to watch him film and Douglas Fairbanks Jnr dropped in for tea.

However when war broke out Pamela and her sister were sent to New York while her mother became active in the war effort and her father was appointed Chief of Combined Operations. It was partly in response to her father’s achievements that Clement Atlee appointed him to be the last Viceroy of India and oversee the transfer of power to an independent India government. Amid the turmoil of political change, Pamela came of age, meeting student and youth leaders, working in the canteen for Allied forces and in a clinic outside Delhi as well as establishing a warm friendship with Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. She was witness both to the joy of Independence Day and its terrible aftermath

Daughter of Empire is the recollection of an extraordinary life, an extraordinary family, and a unique insight into some of the most transformative moments of the twentieth century.