Hague wedding: Romance of honeymoon hideaway

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The Independent Online
"As your honeymoon is coming to an end, mine is about to begin," William Hague told Tony Blair in the Commons yesterday.

That honeymoon, it is reported, will be in India, where Mr Hague and Ffion Jenkins are expected to stay at a hotel which was once a royal palace.

The Lake Palace Hotel at Udaipur in Rajasthan is the ancestral home of Maharanas of Mawar, a celebrated Rajput warrior clan. It was turned into a hotel in l963 and used for filming The Jewel in the Crown and the James Bond film Octopussy.

The hotel has been described as one of the most luxurious and romantic in Asia, with sweeping views across water, courtyards, fountains and gardens. One of the nostalgic links with the Raj are the Udaipur Pipers in white and tartan slashes who play Rajasthani and Scottish laments at sunset.

Mewar became a focal point of resistance to the Mughal empire in the 16th and 17th centuries; successive armies of conquest were thrown back until the fortress cities eventually fell one by one.

Despite the feudal hierarchy, the women of the Rajput royalty played a part in rallying resistance to the invaders.

However, also prevalent was the practice of suttee, self-immolation by the women rather fall into the hands of the enemy, a sacrifice no longer expected of wives of statesmen.

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