Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction, Young Adult

The Royal Rebel: The Life of a Suffragette Princess by Bali Rai

The Royal Rebel is the inspirational story of Sophia Duleep Singh, granddaughter of Maharajah Ranjit Singh, heir to the Sikh Empire in India. As goddaughter of Queen Victoria, Princess Sophia lived a life torn between two nations. She never felt completely at home in England or in India. This book tells her story as she fought for Indian independence from the British government and the rights of women. The years spanning 1884 to 1928 saw great change brought about by incredible women like Sophia.

The princess’s early life was spent at her family home in England. Her father was no longer welcome in India – pushed out by British rule. He strived to build a life worthy of his family’s heritage but it was too much. Paintings and furnishings started disappearing, the house fell until disrepair until, finally, they had no choice but to leave. When her mother died and her father disowned them, Sophia and her siblings were left with almost nothing. They were forced to rely on the kindness of others to try to build a new life.

A visit to India proved they were no more welcome or at home there than they were in England. She realised the impact of the British government on her homeland and that she must do something. Sophia returned to London in the hope that she could support the cause of Indian independence. She raised money for the cause and to support lascars – Indian sailors who were stranded with nothing. This led her to meet Una Dugdale and the WSPU – the suffragettes.

Inspired by their work to win rights for women, Sophia joined their ranks. Her status and connections were a welcome contribution to their efforts. But could she be both a princess and revolutionary? Was it possible to find her true purpose in protest and risk of arrest?

Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was an inspirational woman who fought for what she believed in and for the good of others. Through years of sacrifice and struggle, she found her true path – a place where she belonged. Hers is a story to be remembered and told.

Perfect for Upper Key Stage Two and Key Stage Three, The Royal Rebel is an important addition to any class library. When my daughter was studying the suffragettes in Year 7, this book would have added so much to her understanding of the fight and the diversity of the women involved. I can’t wait for her to read it.

Published by Barrington Stoke, the page tint, font and layout are dyslexia-friendly while the vocabulary is accessible but still so engaging.

Thank you to Barrington Stoke for this powerful book.

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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