In the hazy summer of March 1947, Edwina Mountbatten came to India with her husband, the last Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten. Mountbatten had his cabinet full of warring guns left over from two centuries British rule in India. In the middle of the pandemonium of resolving India’s communal issues, handing over power, bringing the autonomous princely states on board and finally settling on what is now considered the biggest massacre of all time—the Partition—Nehru and Edwina had something simmering in the background.
Edwina was described as an introverted woman who seldom spoke to others. Everyone was curious about Edwina’s relationship with Nehru since she only spoke to him at the time.
Nehru and Edwina had developed a close relationship, and it continued even after India became independent, several reports claim. Nehru would write letters to Edwina for as long as she was alive and Lord Mountbatten was aware of it. Nehru also paid her a visit in Britain and stayed as a guest in Hampshire.
Pamela Mountbatten, Edwina’s daughter, read the correspondence between her mother and Nehru, after the death of Edwina. Pamela had stated that Nehru and her mother liked each other. According to the book, Daughter of Empire: Life as a Mountbatten, first published in 2012 in the United Kingdom, Pamela claimed that Edwina and Nehru were in love but they didn’t have a physical relationship. The emotional and profound bond they had was beyond the average man’s understanding, according to Pamela.
In the years that followed, the diary of Nehru’s secretary, KF Rustam, was compiled and published as a book. It alluded to Nehru and Edwina’s love.
It also mentions Nehru’s affection for other women. According to Rustam, Padmaja, Sarojini Naidu’s daughter, was also in touch with Nehru. Padmaja had a great sense of humour and wanted to take care of Nehru.
In an earlier interview, Alex von Tejman, author of Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire, said that once Padmaja angrily threw a photo frame at Edwina. However, the two became good friends later. Nehru likes intelligent women, claimed Tezman.