Hope Cooke

Hope Cooke

Hope Cooke (born San Francisco, California, June 24, 1940) is an American socialite who was the Gyalmo (Queen consort) of the 12th Chogyal (King of Sikkim).

Birth and childhood

Her father was John J. Cooke. Her mother was Hope Noyes (the former Mrs. James Mulford Townsend Jr.), an amateur pilot who died in January 1942 at the age of 25 when the plane she was flying solo crashed in Nevada; suicide was suspected.

After her parents' divorce in November 1941, Cooke and her half-sister, Harriet Townsend, were raised by her maternal grandparents, Helen (Humpstone) and Winchester Noyes, the president of J.H. Winchester & Co., an international shipping brokerage. Following their deaths, Cooke became the ward of her aunt and uncle, Mary Paul (Noyes) and Selden Chapin, a former U.S. Ambassador to Iran and Peru.

Marriage to the Crown Prince of Sikkim

In 1959, Cooke, then a freshman at Sarah Lawrence College, met Palden Thondup Namgyal, Crown Prince of Sikkim, in the bar of the Windamere Hotel in Darjeeling, India. He was then a widower nearly twice her age.

Four years later, Cooke, an Episcopalian, married the Crown Prince in a Buddhist monastery on 20 March 1963, an act which caused her to be dropped from the Social Register. He became monarch of Sikkim nine months later but was deposed in 1973 and confined to his palace under house arrest. The couple had two children, Palden and Hope Leezum; she also has two stepsons and a stepdaughter from her husband's first marriage.

The Chogyal and his wife separated soon after he was overthrown, and she moved to Manhattan, where she raised her children. The royal couple divorced in 1980, and the Chogyal died of cancer in 1982.


Cooke is now married to Michael Wallace, a history professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and is a tour guide and historian in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York. She wrote a memoir of her life in Sikkim, "Time Change".

External links

* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,896732,00.html "Where There's Hope"] , "TIME", March 29, 1963

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