The Associated Press

Gayatri Devi

JAIPUR, India (AP) - Gayatri Devi, the former queen of the western Indian desert kingdom of Jaipur who was often described as one of the most beautiful women in the world, died Wednesday. She was 90.

Devi, who also served three times as a national lawmaker in India, was hospitalized for about 10 days with stomach and respiratory problems before she died, her doctor S.C. Kala said.

Devi's classical good looks ensured that photographs of her in elegant chiffon saris and diamonds and pearls were splashed across fashion and lifestyle magazines. She was also known for her love of horses and polo.

She was born into the royal family of Cooch Behar in what is now eastern India on May 23, 1919, decades before the partition of the subcontinent that heralded the demise of Indian royalty. She became the third wife of Sawai Man Singh, the "maharaja" or ruler of Jaipur, in 1939. Devi was the "maharani."

In 1960, Devi launched a political party and contested and won a place in India's Parliament. She withdrew from politics in the 1970s.

She supported education for women and established a girl's school which was named after her in Jaipur, now the capital of the state of Rajasthan and the city where she died.