Princess diaries: A day in the life of erstwhile Jaipur royal and BJP candidate Diya Kumari

Diya KumariDiya calls Raje and Modi an inspiration, and herself ‘as much a commoner as anyone else’. (IE Photo: Sweta Dutta)

Draped in a pink chiffon sari, she emerges from the porch of her ancestral house, 16 Civil Lines, Jaipur, lying across the Rajasthan Governor and Chief Minister's official residence. A group of overawed teenagers from Rajasthan University crowd around her and one of them quips, 'Rajkumari will just have to shift across the road.' Others laugh. She blushes.

It is a bright sunny October morning, an auspicious one, particularly so for the erstwhile Jaipur royal family scion. Diya Kumari is heading for a small puja and inauguration of a new office, from where she hopes to steer her plunge into politics for the Assembly elections in Rajasthan.

With hundreds of supporters and party workers waiting on her daily, the move out of the City Palace was inevitable. Ever since she was inducted into the BJP by prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Jaipur in early September, Diya's team of media managers have had their hands full with a slew of requests for interviews, photo shoots and appointments. Her diary that used to be choc-a-bloc with social engagements has seen an increasing shift to political work and to, what she calls, "more socially relevant work".

Born in New Delhi, Diya says she had a "normal" childhood with her father, Brigadier Bhawani Singh, who served in the Indian Army. "I stayed in the Army quarters in Nasirabad and Udaipur, and in Delhi, we had a simple flat. It was only in Jaipur during vacations that I experienced the palace life. I am just as much a commoner as anyone else," she insists.

She went to Modern School, Barakhamba Road, in Delhi and completed high school from Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls' School in Jaipur. Later, she pursued a decorative arts course in London and came back to work closely with the local community around the City Palace. It helped that the family has a number of hotels and museums that needed looking after.

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