Since way before India’s independence, a lot has been said and written about the relationship that Pandit Nehru and Lady Mountbatten shared. While most of these were speculations, the daughter of India’s last viceroy has shared delightful insights on the relationship between India’s first prime minister and India’s last Vicereine.
Pamela Nicks, nee Mountbatten, was just a teenager of 17 when her father came to India as India’s viceroy. What she saw thereafter was the development of a “profound relationship” between her mother Edwina Ashley and Pt. Nehru.
Talking about her eagerness to know more about the rapport that her mother and Nehru shared, Pamela said,
She found in Panditji the companionship and equality of spirit and intellect that she craved.
Although Pamela mentions in the interview that she was “curious (to know) as to whether or not their affair had been sexual in nature”, but after stumbling across the letters that had been written to her mother by Pt. Nehru, she “came to realise how deeply he and my mother loved and respected each other”. In her words, it was the most profound and platonic love that they had for each other.
In her recent publication, ‘Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten’, which is a memoir of her life as a Mountbatten, she writes,
Quite apart from the fact that neither my mother nor Panditji had time to indulge in a physical affair, they were rarely alone. They were always surrounded by staff, police and other people.
In fact, Lord Mountbatten’s ADC, Freddie Burnaby Atkins, later told Pamela that given the nature of the lives that both Mrs. Ashley and Pt. Nehru had, indulging in an affair was a nearly impossible thing.
Pamela Nicks’ book was published in 2012 in the UK. It has only recently been released in India by Hachette publications as a paperback edition.
Talking more about the relationship shared between her mother and Pt. Nehru, Pamela also said that while parting, Edwina Ashley wanted to gift her emerald ring to Nehru as a symbol of the love and respect they had for each other.