India Hicks is smiling confidently in a bathing suit, defying her age of 48. She poses in the courtyard of her impossibly beautiful home of almost 20 years in Harbour Island, Bahamas. Her dachshund, Banger, sits still at her feet, and her 7-year-old daughter, Domino, smiles sweetly from a high perch she has scrambled up to take her place in the shot as a photographer snaps away. In one take, all that she is comes across: model, mother, designer, rebel, savvy business woman and author of best-selling books promoting her vision of the perfectly curated island life. The only thing missing from the shot is her other half, David Flint Wood, who watches supportively out of frame.
India Hicks may not exactly be a household name, but her name did make it into 750 million homes in the summer of 1981, when, at the tender age of 13, she served as Lady Diana Spencer’s bridesmaid in her wedding to Prince Charles, who is India’s godfather. Interestingly enough, she was at her family’s vacation home in the Bahamas when Prince Charles himself called and asked her to be part of the big day. While she was honored to fill the role, she was more concerned with having to wear a dress and negotiate 25-feet of taffeta than the exciting place in the world that the position afforded her.
That position, more precisely, is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She is daughter of famed interior designer David Nightingale Hicks and Lady Pamela Louise Hicks (née Mountbatten), an aristocrat who is a first cousin of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and a great-niece of the last tsarina of Russia, Alexandra Feodorovna. Lady Pamela Hicks served as a bridesmaid to Queen Elizabeth and moved to India at age 17 when her father, the Earl of Mountbatten, was appointed as the last Viceroy of India to oversee English withdrawal shortly before the country’s independence, and as governor-general afterward. The young Lady Pamela counted Gandhi and Nehru as friends and kept the country near to her heart long after they returned to England. The country is the namesake of her third child, India Amanda Caroline Hicks, and she wrote a book chronicling her family’s important time there called India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens During the Transfer of Power.