HM the Gyalmo, HH Prince Palden, HH Princess Hope
Photograph shows Queen Hope Cooke with her children, Prince Palden and Princess Hope Leezum, Gangtok, Sikkim.
Hope Cooke was born in San Francisco, to an Irish-American father, John J. Cooke, a flight instructor, and Hope Noyes, an amateur pilot. In 1959, Cooke was a freshman majoring in Asian Studies at Sarah Lawrence College and sharing an apartment with actress Jane Alexander. She went on a summer trip to India and met Palden Thondup Namgyal, Crown Prince of Sikkim, in the Hotel in Darjeeling, India. On March 20, 1963, Cooke married to Namgyal, who soon became the last king of Sikkim, in a Buddhist monastery in a ceremony performed by fourteen lamas. Wedding guests included members of Indian royalty, Indian and Sikkimese generals and the U.S. Ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith. By 1973, both the country and their marriage were crumbling: Sikkim was annexed by India. Five months after the takeover of Sikkim had begun, Cooke returned to the United States.