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‘Edwina`s affair with Nehru was spiritual, not sexual’

Last Updated: Sunday, December 2, 2012 - 08:53

London: Edwina Mountbatten, who rubbed shoulders with royalty, danced the Charleston with Fred Astaire and let young men not only fall at her feet but into her bed as well, fell madly in love with India along with one of its new leaders - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru — India`s first prime minister after independence.

On the surface, Edwina and her husband, Lord Louis Mountbatten, were the glitziest couple of their day but beneath the reality was separate beds, separate lives and a flurry of flings that set tongues wagging.

However, the young Pamela Mountbatten saw nothing untoward at first in her mother`s string of male friends as revealed in a fascinating memoir. The 83-year-old Pamela writes lovingly and forgivingly of a mother who partied, frolicked and fornicated with abandon - and often left her children for some wild venture.

From the start, there was a profound connection between Edwina and Nehru but Pamela saw more. "A peace came over her mother," the Daily mail quoted Pamela. "She was easy to get along with; a sense of well-being emanated from her.

"She found in Panditji (Nehru) the companionship and equality of spirit and intellect that she craved. Each helped overcome loneliness in the other," she wrote.

Mountbatten saw this too and let his wife get on with this new phase of her life. For him, Edwina`s new interest was a relief. It got her off his back. "Her new-found happiness released him from her relentless late-night recriminations, the constant accusations that he didn`t understand her and was ignoring her."

In later years, Pamela would pore over Nehru`s letters to her mother, "and I came to realize how deeply he and my mother loved each other". But Pamela is convinced that it was a spiritual and intellectual relationship, not a sexual one. "Neither had time to indulge in a physical affair, and anyway the very public nature of their lives meant they were rarely alone," she wrote.


First Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012 - 08:53
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