Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New Post Soon

I hope to write a new post soon!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sarah Bernhardt's Two Princes

Sarah Bernhardt wasn't always 'The Divine Sarah'. She despaired at 18 of ever becoming an actress, let alone a great one. Her mother told her that her acting was ridiculous and the distraught girl resigned from The Gymnase. This was a theatre which showed light comedies.

Bernhardt decided to go on a trip. She may have gone to Spain. She fell in love with the Belgian Prince Henri de Lignes, the great love of her life. He wanted to marry her but his family persuaded her that he would lose his inheritance and be looked down upon by society if she accepted. She gave him up.

She did have his son, however. Bernhardt called him Maurice. When Maurice was much older the prince officially recognised him and offered him his name and a large fortune. He decided to remain 'Bernhardt'.

There is a legend that Maurice and his father were catching a train but they'd lost the tickets. The ticket officer told the prince that he'd never heard of him. However, he knew the name 'Bernhardt' so they got on the train!

The Prince of Wales

Did 'the Divine Sarah' and Edward, Prince of Wales have an affair? Her granddaughter said that they were the best of friends. We will probably never know.
However, his first acknowledged mistress, Lily Langtry, certainly got quite jealous of the frizzy-haired, beautiful Frenchwoman.

The prince and the young actress often dined together in Paris. He also showered her with expensive jewellery and loved to go to her performances. When she went to London in 1879 the air was buzzing with gossip about the couple.

Lady Cavendish complained that Bernhardt was 'shameless' yet she was invited everywhere. She probably wasn't very happy about the speculation that Bernhardt and the prince were involved!

The only evidence of an affair seems to be that they spent many hours together and Bernhardt told her theatre manager that she was late because she was with the prince until the early hours of the morning.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Former Maharaja of Jaipur

Crowds flooded the streets of Jaipur to mourn the death of its beloved Maharaja in April. Even though he had technically lost his title in 1971 due to a constitutional amendment, he was still regarded by many as His Royal Highness, the Maharaja of Jaipur.

Brigadier Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur’s birth was greeted with widespread rejoicing and delight because he was the first male heir to be born to the royal family

for generations. The fountains at the royal palaces overflowed with champagne, so he was given the nickname, Bubbles.

The Maharaja’s Career

The young boy attended Doon School in Dehradun and the prestigious Harrow. After this he decided to serve in the army. He became the CO of the 10th Parachute Regiment (one of the Special Forces regiments.) He was awarded the Mahavir Chakra, the second highest gallantry award, for his part in the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971. He also helped train the Mukti Bahini before the Bangladesh war. He became a Brigadier in 1974.

After his retirement, Singh Bahadur became the Indian High Commissioner to Brunei for some years. He was also an expert polo player and started the Jaipur World Cup of Polo. Singh Bahadur also ran for an election unsuccessfully, and ran many of his palaces as hotels.

The Maharaja’s Marriage

Singh Bahadur married Princess Padmini Devi in 1966. They had one daughter, Princess Diya Kumari. She attended the Maharani Gayatri Devi School for Girls. The former Maharaja’s stepmother, Gayatri Devi had started this school.

He adopted his grandson, Maharaj Kumar Padmandbh Singh as his heir in 2002.
The former Maharaja famously did not get along with his stepmother. However, he persuaded her to give some property and the secession rights to her grandchildren.
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