Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Himalayan Highness

Royal Wedding, Sikkim-style

Sometimes I wish I understood how my mind works. The other day, I was just driving along, minding my own business and wishing Mr. Muscato were back in town (still away, damn his eyes), when out of nowhere I thought, "Whatever happened to Hope Cooke?"

Remember her? She was the Sarah Lawrence post-deb who briefly transfixed the nation when, in early 1963, she married the Crown Prince of Sikkim, becoming in the process the first American to join a ruling family since Mrs. Monaco a few years earlier. In those days, of course, places like Sikkim - a tiny, mountainous state tucked between Nepal and Tibet - were genuinely remote, and the popular press was agog at the prospect of a nice girl from California becoming "Queen of the Happy Valley."

Sadly, it didn't last. Despite a decade of devotion to her people, by the mid-seventies Sikkim had been absorbed by India, the monarchy abolished, and the erstwhile Queen returned home. Today, remarried, she apparently lives in Brooklyn and for years gave walking tours of New York.

But why should she pop into my mind, unbidden, on a fine December afternoon?


  1. oh! this happens so much with me too!

    I was making my cafe du lait,this morn, when out of thin air, I wanted to know the actress's name who played the role of Prof. Trelawney in Harry Potter films...I had to immediately google it to know Emma Thompson once again...

  2. Ah...actually, I've wondered about her too, maybe once or twice...since I first read about her first 20 or so years ago.
    My wonderings must have been pre-internet, because I surely would have been up at 5 am looking her up if it had been nowadays.

    Now, I know "the rest of the story"
    (insert Paul Harvey voice)