New Delhi, Aug. 20, 2019: Lady Diana wanted to be involved in a Mother Teresa project for AIDS patients in Calcutta.
And Prince Charles felt a certain kinship with India because he was “conceived” a few months after India’s independence, two letters written separately by the former British royal couple reveal.
“I read with great interest of your visit to Mother Teresa. I have the fondest memories of my meeting with her and she is constantly in my thoughts. I would love to be involved with the house to accommodate a small number of AIDS patients in Calcutta and am deeply touched that Mother Teresa thought of asking me. Perhaps we can consider the nature of my contribution when you are here…,” Diana wrote in a letter dated May 1,1997.
The letter was written to L M Singhvi, then High Commissioner for India to the United Kingdom, and is part of a forthcoming pictorial biography, The Journey of a Wise Man, put together by his son, Abhishek Singhvi.
Diana had visited Mother Teresa hospice in Calcutta but first met the nun later in Rome in 1992. Her public work with AIDS victims, especially in the US, the UK and South Africa, has been well documented.
She died in a car crash on August 31, 1997, just three months after penning that missive. She was 36. Sadly, Mother Teresa too passed away just five days later. Diana’s marriage with Prince Charles had ended in a divorce a year earlier. However, the two shared a common bond with India.
“One of my greatest sadnesses is that I shall be unable to visit India in 1997. I was so hoping to be able to join you for a small part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. Having been conceived a few months after the transfer of power, I feel a particular affinity in age with the Republic of India,” Prince Charles wrote in a letter dated August 16, 1996 to LM Singhvi. The letters have been donated to a private university.
Singhvi (1931-2007) was an associate professor at Berkeley at 28, a renowned jurist and an interpreter of Indian culture. He also won the Lok Sabha polls from Jodhpur as an independent candidate in 1962.