When Jaipur Princess Gauravi Kumari will make her debut at the le Bal des Débutantes in Paris in November, she will join the long list of royals who have graced the prestigious fashion event held annually in that brings together 20–25 girls aged 16 to 22 from about a dozen countries.

A bevy of young Indian ladies has made their debut at high society at le Bal include  Princess Adishree Singh of Jammu and Kashmir (2009), Shaiyara Devi of Kapurthala (2011), Isha Ambani and Ashna Mehta (2011), and Princess Askshita Bhanjdeo of Mayurbhanj and Jaisalmer (2013).

Princess Gauravi will have actor Chunky Pandey’s daughter, Ananya Pandey, as the other participant from India.

Princess Gauravi, who has recently joined New York University, told the Times of India that she is preparing for le Bal by taking waltz lessons. “I am excited and eagerly looking forward to attending le Bal. It is an honour to have been invited. At the moment, I am a bit preoccupied with figuring out my things in New York. As for le Bal, I am taking waltz lessons to hone my ballroom dancing skills,“ she was quoted as saying the Jaipur edition of the paper.

Ananya will be dressed by Jean Paul Gaultier, while Princess Gauravi will be wearing a sari-inspired couture gown by Tarun Tahiliani. Fine jewellery by Payal New York, an eponymous label by Indian-origin Payal Mehta, will adorn each participant.

However, Princess Gauravi  doesn’t divulge any details, wanting her outfit to stay a surprise. “My gown is a big secret until le Bal takes place,“ is all she’s saying.

At le Bal, Gauravi is looking for some meaningful friendships with other debutants. “I really wish to have a fulfilling experience at New York University. I know le Bal will be a very memorable experience and that it will leave me with some lasting and meaningful friendships.“ About her future plans, she says, “I want to promote education and gender equality in our country just like my mother does. I also hope to contribute to one of the trusts that my family has established in Jaipur.“

Talking about being born into a royal family and the pressure that comes along with it, she says, “I have had a very normal childhood.   My parents and grandparents taught me humility and I was not spoilt as a child. I cherish the rich heritage and traditions that I have inherited from them. I have seen the elders in my family take on innumerable responsibilities with grace and humility, and I aspire to do the same. Of course, being born into such a family also creates extra pressure, but they are challenges that I honour and respect. Only some of my friends abroad know about my family background, and I prefer to be seen as a normal girl.“

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Asif Ullah Khan

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