Gayatri Devi, the third wife of a Rajasthan prince who counted British royalty and Jackie Onassis among her friends, was once named by Vogue magazine as one of the world’s 10 most beautiful women. But overall Gayatri was a passionate horse rider. She loved horses and was a knower of all tricks to ride and tackle her beloved equine partners.
At 12 years she fell for the most glamorous young man in India, the Maharaja of Jaipur, then 21 years old. He was not only exceedingly rich and handsome but also a nine-handicap polo player, leading his Jaipur polo team to victory in every tournament they entered.
She loved to travel, spending the summer months based in a small flat in Knightsbridge and her winters in Jaipur, where she held court in the dower house (Lilypool) that her husband had built after their first home, Rambagh Palace, had been transformed into a hotel. A list of VIPs from the hotel was daily sent over to Lilypool when she was in residence, and if not otherwise occupied she would invite them over for a glass of champagne in the evening. Those who displeased her were billed for the champagne.
But not only was the Maharanji one of the most known socialites of her era, Gayatri Devi also formed the anti-Congress Swatantra Party and successfully ran for parliament in 1962, 1967 and lastly in 1971. A strong woman all equestrians will relate to.
Curious? Read more about Gayatri Devi’s life in her biography A princess remembers.
If you want to discover more about the beautiful Marwari horses, have a look at this Flyinghorse article.