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It was also the first time in the history of the British Raj that a woman was actually a player at such a level of administra- tion – and not just some decoration.“The Great Game” was always played by men with bullets, swords and lances.

But now the struggle for the heart of India, a struggle first begun by Gandhi who would be assassinated in 1948, was now being fought in bedrooms, drawing rooms and summer retreats.

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They had long found one another physically attractive and in the long cool evenings of that summer month of 1947, they became lovers.

On hearing this, King George V himself ordered the Mountbattens, who were in Malta, to return to London and sue for libel.

The sequel is that the society woman has been given hints to clear out of England for a couple of years to let the affair blow over.”This was understood to implicate Lady Mountbatten in an affair with the american singer and actor Paul Robeson.

It concerns one of the leading hostesses in the country – a woman highly connected and immensely rich.

Her association with a black man became so marked that they were the talk of the west End.

Now the australian actress Cate Blanchett is to play Lady Mountbatten in a film adaptation of Indian summer: The secret History Of The End Of an Empire by the Lon- don historian alex von Tunzelmann.

Her 2007 book tells the story of the love affair between Lady Mountbatten and Nehru following India’s independence in 1947.

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