Sylvia Brett Brooke was born in London, a daughter of Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher, and his wife Eleanor. In 1911, she married Sir Charles Vyner Brooke, Rajah of Sarawak, with whom she had three daughters. Her husband was the last of the British "White Rajahs" who ruled a jungle kingdom on the island of Borneo for 100 years until 1946. Sylvia spent most of her time in England and was famous for her bohemian parties. She became a novelist and autobiographer, and was the author of 11 books published in the UK and the USA, including Queen of the Head-Hunters (1970). Philip Eade wrote her biography, Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters: An Outrageous Englishwoman and her Lost Kingdom (2007).