Former Emmerdale star Paige Sandhu announces new role after Meena exit

Former Emmerdale star Paige Sandhu has landed herself her first major role since her character Meena Jutla's dramatic exit.

The actress was announced to be playing real-life royalty in a film about the suffragette movement: UK/India co-production Lioness.

Sharing the news on her Instagram, Sandhu explained a little bit about who Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was and shared how excited she was to play someone who was so integral to the fight for women's rights.

"I am so incredibly humbled and honoured to be announcing #Lioness. To say this part, this story, this cast & crew is a dream come true would be doing it a disservice," Sandhu wrote.

paige sandhu standing with hands on hips, dark hair worn down in loose waves, wearing a black top and black trouser suit
Mike Marsland - Getty Images

Related: Former Emmerdale star Paige Sandhu reunites with co-stars

"I am so blown away by this incredible story and cannot wait for the world to learn about Princess Sophia Duleep Singh. Granddaughter of the Lion of Punjab, youngest daughter of the deposed Maharajah Duleep Singh and goddaughter to Queen Victoria, her life, the people she helped and her work as a suffragette is truly amazing," she continued.

"And I am SO delighted to be working with the amazing [actress Aditi Rao Hydari] and [director Kajri Babbar]. Oh go on, I am going to say it! It is a dream come true!"

Sandhu concluded her post by quoting Emmeline Pankhurt's famous 'Freedom or Death' speech she made in Connecticut in November 1913: "So here am I. I come in the intervals of prison appearance: I come after having been four times imprisoned under the 'Cat and Mouse Act', probably going back to be rearrested as soon as I set my foot on British soil.

"I come to ask you to help to win this fight. If we win it, this hardest of all fights, then, to be sure, in the future it is going to be made easier for women all over the world to win their fight when their time comes."

Related: Former Emmerdale star Paige Sandhu responds to Meena Jutla return calls

Lioness will follow both Princess Sophia and Mehak, a fictional immigrant woman living in London at the same time period. It's the first project from a UK/India co-production treaty that was signed years ago.

Meanwhile, a Blue Plaque dedicated to Princess Sophia will be unveiled at an event in London's Hampton Court this Friday (May 26), with Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha (who's working on an Indian princess musical for Disney) delivering a speech.

Emmerdale airs on weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV1, and streams on ITVX.

Read more Emmerdale spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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