It was interesting to watch my mother meet her 17-year-old self, which is not as confusing as it sounds.
My mother can boast of having not one but two saints amongst her ancestors, and a great Aunt who was the last Tsarina of Russia, and of course that front row seat during the transfer of power in 1947 as her parents were appointed to be the last Viceroy and Vicereine of India, during which time she developed deep friendships with Nehru and Gandhi and watched as history unfolded.
A film is now being made about an Indian love story, taking place in Viceroy’s House during that time. Gillian Anderson plays my grandmother and Hugh Bonneville from Downton Abbey plays my grandfather, with the brilliant Gurinder Chadha directing (Bend It Like Beckham etc.)
My mother was sent the script and asked to advise on the more historical scenes. She got out a big red pen and began to cross out great chunks, “Well that would never have happened and that would not have been said like that and no the servants certainly would not have worn their red uniforms in the summer months…” she was clearly enjoying her role. Poor Gurinder. After a bit my brother intervened. “It’s just a film,” he gently pointed out.
When Hugh Bonneville came to have lunch with my mother she told him to stand up straighter and suggested he did not have crumpets for tea, her father always had a very enviable figure, she reminded him.
The one person my mother had not had any contact with was herself, until last week, when we sat down with the captivating young actress, Lily Travers, who had spent many months stepping into my mother’s shoes.
“I’m quite nervous” Lily texted me beforehand. “No need to be at all” I assured her. And it was quite a lovely afternoon watching the two Lady Pamelas sharing stories from the past and the present.
“She’s very pretty” said my mother later. “It’s wonderful, everyone is going to think I was very pretty.”