India Hicks Will Show You How To Lead An Extraordinary Life
“Because I’m a lunatic.”
I’ve just asked India Hicks, bridesmaid at Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding and 698th in line to the British throne, why she’s drawn to the twists and turns in life, the ones that took her away from the trajectory of an English rose and led her to move to a remote island in the Bahamas, where she became an off-the-beaten path lifestyle mogul. (Her namesake accessories and beauty collection is now shipping to Canada.)
But it’s also an apt way to describe the berserk atmosphere that seems to encircle Hicks like a Tasmanian Devil-worthy tornado. First there’s a mix-up with time, so I’m an hour early to meet with Hicks. When she finally arrives in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, she’s apologetic and totally gracious. Not a second after we take our seats at the café, the boisterous Roxy Earle from The Real Housewives of Toronto swoops into intercept our interview, fangirling and insisting I take their photo. I silently oblige and listen to them talk about what presumably most rich and famous people talk about – their businesses ventures and the possibility of ‘connecting.’ Then, just as the madness has almost subsided another person shows up to claim Hick’s time; this time a local Instagrammer she’s scheduled a meet up with.
By the end of it all, I feel like I’ve spent a total of about 2 minutes with Ms. Hicks. But that’s what she must feel like all the time.
FASHION: I love that you’re eating a chocolate croissant. What’s your take on the rise of wellness culture e.g. meditation apps, drinking green juices etc?
India Hicks: I think we’re at a really weird moment in time for lots of things. World politics, just everything seems to be at such an extreme. Whilst I’ve been here in Canada I’ve been doing a lot of TV, and makeup artists are always talking about the horror of the Instagram sensation of contouring. I think wellness is really important but it’s more important to accept who you are or where you’re at in life. I love having a chocolate croissant but I probably had a green juice for breakfast. I know so much more about myself, thank God, now that I’m 50.
What’s different about being 50?
The insecurity of your 30s, even the insecurity of motherhood, all those stages begin to soften. You’re much more accepting of everybody. My kids are not perfect. I am a nightmare mother, and they are nightmare kids, but we’re just doing our best.
I have to ask about the most recent Royal Wedding. Do you find it grating to still have to answer questions about royal nuptials even though 30+ years have passed since your involvement in one?
I did go through a phase of being like, ‘Please see me as my own person,’ but I’ve come around to be more accepting of it. The royal family is untouchable in some ways and when you see a carriage go down the mound, having had the experience of being in that carriage, of course people want to ask you about it. At the end of the day, I am a monarchist. I love the royal family. I love everything it stands for. I think the pomp and circumstance and pageantry is not only a tourist attraction but it’s a boon for us in England. Our Queen is a very, very extraordinary person in so many ways. At the same time, I think the monarchy needs to be modernized. I think with Meghan and Harry, what we see is she’s got some pretty firm ideas, which could be very good for everyone, for the world.
So you see Meghan Markle entering the Royal Family as one way they’re modernizing?
I do. Completely. I think it’s an unconscious one, but a very positive move.
[At this point the Instagrammer comes in and is introduced to India and I completely lose my train of thought by the time we re-start the interview.]
Your new book is called A Slice of England. Since you’ve lived in the Bahamas for over 20 years, how has your perspective on England changed over the years?
I think the fact that I left England at 18 and have never lived there full-time since… I was yearning to be my own person. I had very famous grandparents. My mother had a front row seat to many historical events, my father was very dynamic, well-known and in the press a lot. I think leaving England allowed me to become my own person. I’m in England all the time and I’ve just built a house there for god’s sakes, but I see England though tourist eyes now. There is a bit of escapism in it all if I think about it.
Speaking of escapism, how can an average person live an extraordinary life?
I’m conscious that I live on a remote island in the middle of nowhere, have five children, and come from British heritage that’s heavily laden with royalty, so people think it is easy for me to lead an extraordinary. But I think that’s not necessarily true. I was expected to marry someone and live my life out as a lady of leisure. So I have made my life what it is because of the twists and turns that I decided to take. I think I have a sense of adventure about me that I’ve inherited. I had a grandmother who is very extraordinary. I never met her, but I’m prepared to take risks, I’m prepared to do a leap of faith, I’m prepared to jump off Victoria Falls, I’m prepared to do an awful lot. I think that is what people need to be more open to.
Why are you so drawn to the twists and turns?
God knows. Because I’m a lunatic? I don’t know. Chemistry, I guess.
I’m curious because I am not a risk-taking person at all.
But maybe if you’re not, you may be very happy and content and feel that you have an extraordinary life in the ordinary. Think of Instagram, a medium we can all relate to. There are some people who lead very average, predictable lives, but express it with great beauty and interest, visually. We can all walk down the street and see the same street but someone will see the dewdrop on the leaf and others won’t. So I think it’s what we make of life.
I think that chocolate croissant made me incredibly deep.