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2008-04-10 The Legend of Princess Der Ling
    2008-04-10 10:22:27     CRIENGLISH.com

On an ordinary day in November of 1944, an elderly Chinese woman was hit by a grocery van at a busy intersection in the university town of Berkeley, California. Elizabeth Antoinette White was killed and not much was made of her death. But for most of her life she was best known as Princess Der Ling, daughter of Lord Yu Keng, an influential Manchu aristocrat, and First Lady-in-waiting to Empress Dowager Cixi. She wrote eight books in English, including her memoir of her experience with the Empress Dowager, Two Years in the Forbidden City.

Grant Hayter-Menzies rediscovers a fascinating and complex figure of Chinese history. [Photo: Hong Kong University Press]

Whether or not Princess is an accurate title for Der Ling, she was a fascinating character but a figure that has somehow been forgotten or ignored by history and historians. Author Grant Hayter-Menzies is hoping to revive her name and importance with his new biography Imperial Masquerade: The Legend of Princess Der Ling.

Published by Hong Kong University Press in March of this year, Grant Hayter-Menzies will be speaking about the book at Hong Kong University on April 10th. I caught up with the author earlier this week in Beijing to talk about Princess Der Ling and the legend she left behind.

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