Nehru, Maharaja and football scheme in Delhi: le Carré’s partner painted India for him

Some time in the late 1960s, David Cornwell received a letter from his father. He ended up in Delhi. And in keeping with the compelling story that was his life, he won the trust of a “famous Maharaja”. “His Majesty asks me to assure you that you will be royally welcome at the Palace whenever the winds of fate throw you on those lonely shores,” Ronnie Cornwell wrote to his son, the Cold War espionage novelist who took John’s name. the. Square.

So caught up was the maharaja with Ron that he appointed him steward of his estate. There was one small thing, a postscript – he also needed £ 1,000 in cash. David inquired about the Maharajah at the Indian High Commission in London. The sultanate for which Ronnie “worked,” it turned out, did not exist. It hasn’t happened since 1948. And a year later, the sole heir to the title was killed in an accident in France, wrote Le Carré’s cinematographer, Adam Sisman.