Whoever said a princesses were meant to live in gilded towers and wore tutus clearly never heard of Princess Noor Inayat Kahn.
She was the direct descendant of Tipu Sultan, the eighteenth-century Muslim ruler of Mysore. Her father was a musician that moved around living in the United States (where he met her mother), Russia, London, and Paris. He was also a Sufi who taught her to be respectful of all religions and a pacifist. However, she felt that it was important to set that pacifism aside when the Nazis invaded France. Before the war broke out Noor studied child psychology at the Sorbonne and music at the Paris Conservatory.
In 1942 Noor was recruited by the Special Operations Executive to work in Paris as a radio operator. She joined the resistance network called Prosper who was tasked by Winston Churchill to set Europe ablaze. Her trainers took her demure nature for granted and said that she wasn’t cut out for field work.
Even though her spy ring was infiltrated by the Gestapo she continued her work in the field knowing how important this was to the allies. For three months she ran the spy network on her own until she was betrayed by a double agent and arrested by the Nazis.
The Nazis kept her in shackles. Even after ten months of beatings, starvation, and torture she couldn’t be broken. Two escape attempts led the Nazis to label her as “highly dangerous.”
In September 1944 Noor and three other SOE women were executed with a shot to the back of the head. Noor’s last words were “liberte.”
Feeling inspired by Noor?
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah two sisters do their part and make sacrifices in an attempt to survive Nazi occupied France.
- Dido’s Crown by Julie K. Rose Pre WW2 spy adventure, I could see Noor and Mary getting along quite well.
- Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris Through the eyes of a young girl we see a family do what they must to survive Nazi occupied France.