Excerpt: Laxmibai Declares Herself Queen After the King’s Death

The Queen's Last Salute
The Story of Jhansee and the 1857 Mutiny
Book Excerpt 

But she had no time to brood over her gloomy thoughts. A loud wail went up, and within minutes the palace had erupted into a scene of bedlam and mayhem. There was complete pandemonium all over. People rushed out from their quarters, screaming and wailing.

Cries of ‘The king is dead! Maharaj nahin rahe!’ rang out. Chandraki stopped in her tracks, caught in the centre of all the commotion.

‘The Maharani! I need to be with her,’ thought Chandraki and rushed towards the queen’s chamber. But there was no one there and the curtains were drawn. Only one attendant waited outside.

‘Is the queen inside?’ Chandraki asked.

The girl shook her head. ‘Maharani is with Maharaj in his room,’ she replied.

Chandraki rushed to the king’s chamber. Th is was a place she rarely visited and she hesitated before entering.

‘Can I go in?’ she asked one of the guards . . .