Hope Cooke was an American socialite who became the Queen Consort or “Gyalmo” of the last Chogyal of Sikkim Palden Thondup Namgyal. She met the Chogyal on a summer trip to Sikkim where both of them fell for each other. Hope was the second wife of Palden Thondup Namgyal who already had three children before their marriage. In 1973, the couple got married in a ceremony consecrated by 14 lamas. Hope renounced her American citizenship to prove her loyalties with the people of Sikkim.
The marriage however was not a happy one. The two were said to be having extra-marital affairs which put a strain on their partnership. In April 1975, protests broke out on the Chogyal’s birthday. Unable to quell the violence, Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal reached out to the Indian Government. Sikkim had been a protectorate under the British from 1861 and consequently under the Government of India from 1950. In 1975, Sikkim lost its protectorate status after signing an agreement with the Indian Government and it became the 22nd state in the Indian Union. The Chogyal was deposed and put on house arrest. In the meantime, Hope Cooke left Sikkim for Manhattan along with her two children Hope Leezum and Palden. In 1980 the couple got a divorce and in 1982, the Chogyal passed away.