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Queen of the Desert

Queen of the Desert, Gertrude Bell

Our Explorer of the month is unknown to many people considering her legendary exploits in Arabia. Gertrude Bell was a writer, traveller, political officer, administrator, and archaeologist who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British policy-making due to her knowledge and contacts, built up through her extensive travels in Syria-Palestine, Mesopotamia, Persia, and Arabia.

According to English Heritage ‘she travelled with a Wedgwood dinner service, silver candlesticks and hairbrushes, and two tents – one for her writing table and one for her bed and bath (in which she washed with lavender soap). She carried fashionable evening wear in her luggage, but hid guns beneath her petticoats and carried the cartridges in her boots.’

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