Tory veteran daughter finds baptism bliss
A Sikh boy marrying an English girl isn’t an unusual occurrence in today’s multicultural Britain expect that, in this case, the girl is the 30-year-old previously nightclub-going blonde daughter of a former Tory cabinet minister and the boy is a Nihang Sikh who used to practise yoga on the roof of the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
What some may find slightly worrying, though, is that Alexandra Aitken, who has changed her name to Harvinder Kaur Khalsa, has felt it necessary to share her happiness with both Hello! magazine as well as the Daily Mail — presumably for a handsome consideration.
The marriage has been reported as though Alexandra could have done better. But she seems to have discovered bliss and is looking forward to bringing up her children in the foothills of the Himalayas where her romance with Inderjot is said to have blossomed.
Alexandra’s effortlessly elegant father, Jonathan Aitken, 68, who was educated at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford, was the Tory MP for Thanet, Kent, from 1974 until the May 1997 general election. He served in Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet in 1994 when he was chief secretary to the Treasury.
Although Aitken did not know his daughter was getting married, he has behaved with impeccable manners.
“He’s happy for us,” his daughter revealed.
The reaction of Inderjot’s parents has not been recorded, though. They have cause to be worried. Inderjot’s father-in-law had a major run-in with the Guardian which had accused him of being corrupt. After losing his legal case against the Guardian, he was sent to prison for 18 months in 1999 after admitting perjury and perverting the course of justice.
But he emerged from jail a changed man. Gone is the old arrogance to be replaced by a born again Christian, who frequently appears on radio and television to talk about prison life with sympathy and understanding. Perhaps more politicians in India should be sent to prison if Aitken is any guide.
What is causing concern to Harvinder Kaur’s friends is that they were more comfortable with her when she had not discovered the joys of the Sikh faith. Alexandra’s twin sister, Victoria, an actress and rap artist, was the only Westerner to attend the wedding which was held according to traditional Sikh rites in Amritsar.
“When I said, ‘Daddy, I might be wearing a turban next time you see me,” it was a bit of a shock,” she told Hello! “But my father loves my husband — it’s impossible not to.”
The couple, who met two years ago, married in a simple ceremony and guests were treated to music and sword-fighting displays.
“Many holy people, saints, came to our wedding which is rare,” Alexandra said. “They came out of their caves. Normally saints don’t leave their place of meditation.”
Harvinder Kaur's parents, Jonathan and his former wife Lolicia, have insisted on further celebrations. The couple now plan to host wedding parties and a civil ceremony in Los Angeles and London.
Her first person account also appears today in the Daily Mail which introduces her by saying that “for years she had a reputation as a hedonistic party girl”.
Harvinder Kaur admits: “If they’d gone on to tell me that I’d also have converted to Sikhism, changed my name to Harvinder Kaur Khalsa and be married to an Indian warrior whom I fell in love with before we even exchanged a single word, I’d have laughed my head off.”
It is unclear whether the words are her own or her article has been heavily rewritten by sub-editors.
“The socialite who once tumbled out of London nightclubs in daring dresses is a changed woman these days,” the paper said. “And much to her parents’ surprise, she is also a married woman.”
She explains: “We live in a computer age where life is increasingly stressful and the world is speeding up, and people are desperately trying to find a way to relax, to escape from everything. As I see it, you’ve got one of two options: you can either find a drug dealer, or you can find something that’s going to give you a natural high. Everyone’s looking for something — I’ve found it in Sikhism. But I didn’t just jump on the first bus going. I did my homework. I’ve read just about everything.”
She emphasised she has now left behind her party girl lifestyle in London. “Years ago, I remembered seeing a Sikh girl wearing a turban and thinking that she must be a bit crazy. I just couldn’t understand why someone would do that. It just wasn’t a part of anything I was familiar with. I just didn’t get it. But I think if I’d carried on living my life the way I had been I would have been a very unhappy person. I would have been unfulfilled and, basically, empty.”