The story of Lady Hicks (India Remembered, 2007, etc.), who lived the kind of life we think of as only existing in books and movies, with nannies, governesses and all the trappings of the English elite.
The author’s mother, Edwina Mountbatten, didn’t really take to parenting, and she often took off for extended trips around the world. She also managed to lose the name of the hotel in Budapest where she’d dropped her children and nannies for safekeeping during the Abyssinian crisis. Hicks’ father, Lord Mountbatten, accepted Edwina’s string of lovers with barely a mention. The author’s description of her years with her parents in India during its transfer to independence is entirely reminiscent of her father’s TV program; even the egocentric tone of voice is exactly like his. However, the tone and atmosphere of self-importance is not altogether surprising, given that Hicks was cousin to the queen; could trace her roots back 900 years; owned a home in London on Park Lane, at Sussex Downs and a 6,000-acre estate in Hampshire. Her family was close enough for her to be named as head bridesmaid for Princess Elizabeth’s wedding and to accompany her on the fateful world tour that was so sadly cut short. The author’s description of the new queen’s reaction to the fate suddenly thrust upon her reflects a woman who was already the regal woman we now know.
Though the first half of the book does little more than portray the pampered life of the upper-crust children who had to curtsey to grandmother, Hicks’ love of India and the description of her year with the queen’s world tour make it worth reading. Many fans of Downton Abbey will certainly enjoy it.