SYLVIA, QUEEN OF THE HEADHUNTERS: An Eccentric Englishwoman


SYLVIA, QUEEN OF THE HEADHUNTERS: An Eccentric Englishwoman

PHILIP EADE    Book Number: 83875    Product format: Hardback

Sylvia Brett, later Lady Brooke, Ranee of Sarawak, had an unhappy childhood being neglected by her parents because they were too busy entertaining Queen Victoria, Edward VII and Kaiser Wilhelm at their mansion near Windsor. Reggie Brett was responsible for organising ceremonial occasions such as Queen Victoria's funeral, and when Sylvia married Vyner Brooke the life she entered was as far from the London season as could be imagined. Vyner met Sylvia at an orchestral rehearsal, offering to tune Sylvia's drum as an opening gambit, and while he did so she was wishing her sleeves were held together with buttons instead of safety pins. George Bernard Shaw sent a poem for the wedding, while J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, was effusive in his praise of the bride. Vyner had grown up on Sarawak, a society where a man undertaking a rite of passage was expected to be adorned with the skulls of enemies. In 1912 the couple journeyed to Sarawak, and by the time of the Japanese invasion in 1946 Sylvia was mistress of a palace with 1778 rooms. Her husband, who became the last Rajah of Sarawak, helped the Sultan of Brunei financially but himself failed to amass any wealth, and the author's detailed account of the politics of British colonial rule makes fascinating reading. Sylvia always dressed extravagantly and was considered vulgar by British visitors, but she was the author of eleven books and was a formidable personality, branded by the Colonial Office a "dangerous woman". 362pp, black and white photos, notes, maps, genealogy.
Published price: $30
Bibliophile price: £8.00


Additional product information

ISBN 9781250045898
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