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In 1876 Sophia Duleep Singh was born into royalty. Her father, Maharajah Duleep Singh, was heir to the Kingdom of the Sikhs--a realm that stretched from the lush Kashmir Valley to the craggy foothills of the Khyber Pass, and included the mighty cities of Lahore and Peshawar. It was a territory irresistible to the British, who plundered it of everything, including the fabled Koh-I-Noor diamond.
Exiled to England, the dispossessed Maharajah transformed his estate at Elveden in Suffolk into a Moghul palace, stocked with leopards, monkeys, and exotic birds. Sophia, goddaughter of Queen Victoria, was raised a genteel aristocratic Englishwoman: presented at court, afforded lodgings at Hampton Court Palace, and photographed wearing the latest fashions. But when, in secret defiance of the British government, she traveled to India, she returned a revolutionary.
Sophia devoted herself to battling injustice and inequality: Her causes were the struggle for Indian independence, the fate of the Lascars, the welfare of Indian soldiers in WWI--and, above all, the fight for female suffrage. She was bold and fearless, attacking politicians and swapping her silks for a nurse's uniform to tend wounded soldiers. Meticulously researched and passionately written, this enthralling story of the rise of women and the fall of an empire introduces an extraordinary individual and her role in the defining moments of recent British and Indian history.
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