She Went From Living As An English Socialite To Being Known As “Queen Of The Desert” After Journeying Through The Middle East And Becoming The First English Woman To Enter The Great Pyramid

Living larger than life, Hester defied many of the traditional roles and behaviors of a woman during her time, sometimes wearing men’s clothes, smoking, riding camels, etc.

After losing many of her belongings in a shipwreck, she adopted a wardrobe comprising turbans, waistcoats, and pantaloons.

In the 1810s, Hester had a brief stint in archaeology after gaining possession of an Italian manuscript that listed the reported site of treasure and gold coins that were buried beneath Tel Ashkelon in Israel. In 1815, she began setting out on archaeological adventures and unearthed valuable artifacts.

While Hester spent much of her time abroad socializing with locals and natives and developing good relationships with Ottoman rulers, she eventually spent beyond her means and accumulated a lot of debt. Her reputation began to slip, and her behavior became strange. Her debt became so large that the British government had to intervene and use her pension to help pay it off.

Hester eventually evolved into a woman who was the complete opposite of her former self. She was in debt, depressed, and reportedly suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s. She died alone at the age of 63 in 1839.

Although the end of her life was quite sad, Hester will always be remembered as the ‘Queen Of The Desert’ as people across generations study her fascinating life.

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