The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Indian affair with princess over
- Royal beauty stays in Britain as boyfriend heads back home to Delhi

London, Oct. 27: The three-year-old romance between Lady Gabriella Windsor, the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, and Aatish Taseer, which many expected to culminate in wedding bells, has ended after the royal beauty reluctantly decided not to follow her boyfriend back to his home in India, Britain’s Hello! magazine has reported.

A spokesman for Princess Michael also said: “I can confirm that Gabriella and Aatish are no longer together, but the love and respect they share for each other has not diminished.”

The 25-year-olds, who are both writers, first met when Gabriella (known as Ella in short) was on a magazine internship in the US while completing her final year at the Brown University, Rhode Island.

When she returned to London, Aatish, the son of a Pakistani father and an Indian mother, followed and the couple became a regular sight on the British social scene.

He will now be returning to India alone after failing to convince his girlfriend to join him.

“Aatish very much wanted her to go back with him to India,” a close friend told the Daily Mail, “but she wants to stay in Britain and pursue her writing career here. So they have very sadly decided to go their separate ways.”

Early last year, rumours that the couple were about to get engaged were given currency by a report in the Mandrake gossip column of the Sunday Telegraph, which stated: “Prince and Princess Michael of Kent will announce that their elegant 23-year-old daughter is to marry Aatish early this year.”

The paper quoted Aatish, a trainee reporter with Time magazine, as saying: “I will be heading back to India to pursue my career. The opportunities in media out there are excellent and I’m determined to give it a go. I’ve lived here in London and in New York, but Delhi is where I am from and where I want to be.”

However, in an interview to a reputable German Sunday newspaper, Welt am Sonntag, Princess Michael categorically denied her daughter was about to get married.

“It is not true,” she said. “Gabriella is so young and is not thinking about getting married. She is going first to Africa to write an article about guenons (monkeys) in the Kalahari. Why should she be sitting around in India with babies' I am very fond of her boyfriend. I would not be against a marriage even though I receive letters from many people who do not appreciate multicultural marriages.”

The spokesman for the princess told The Telegraph then: “They are not getting married. That’s official. They are very young, they are just enjoying each other’s company.”

There are those who may feel that it would have been hard for Aatish to have adjusted to his wife’s royal background. The reality is that she is royal only in a technical sense, being 31st in line to the throne.

Her elder brother, Lord Frederick Windsor, 27, who was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he took a 2:1 in classics, is 30th in line.

Their mother is reported to have claimed that her children “are better educated than their cousins”.

It is probably wise not to read too much into the decision by Gabriella and Aatish to go their separate ways. In modern Britain, a three-year relationship between two young people is actually quite a long one. Fewer and fewer couples are also getting married.

Had they chosen to get married, the media would have made very little of Aatish’s perfectly respectable middle class Indian background. Her parents, especially her mother, may have been unhappy about the relationship but only because she would have missed her daughter living so far away.

It is worth pointing out that the relationship between Liz Hurley, who is much more in the public eye, and Arun Nayar is almost a permanent fixture in the gossip columns.

What would require a PhD thesis to untangle is Princess Michael’s uneasy relationship with Britain and, in particular, with the British media which has given her a hard time ever since she took Prince Michael of Kent as her second husband. She was first married to an English banker, Thomas Troubridge.

She probably thinks she is a cut above the British royals; they have probably caused her to be called “Princess Pushy” in British tabloids. The queen reportedly has referred to her as “a bit too grand for” the rest of the royal family.

Princess Michael was born on January 15, 1945, in Carlsbad (now in the Czech Republic), the only daughter of the late Baron Günther Hubertus von Reibnitz (of Silesian descent), and the late Countess Szapár, a Hungarian.

After her parents’ divorce, her father, a Nazi party member later wrongly accused of having been a member of the SS, moved to South Africa. Marie-Christine, her mother, and her brother moved to Australia, where her mother ran a beauty salon.

In many ways, Princess Michael is an accomplished woman. She has published several books on the royal families of Europe. She also undertakes lecture tours but she does not carry out royal duties on behalf of the queen.

Before her marriage to Prince Michael, she was an interior decorator. She is not exactly rolling in money and this is a skill she could have exploited in the new India, bringing the tasteful European look to five-star hotel lobbies and the drawing rooms of the Indian rich.

In an interview many years ago, she confided: “I will never become British even if I live here the rest of my life. The English distrust foreigners.”

Recently, she has been photographed with a young Russian man friend amid reports that she and her husband enjoy an open marriage.

There is nothing to indicate, however, she instructed her daughter not to marry an Indian.

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