Courtesy of the Department of Archaeology, University of Newcastle

At the 1921 Cairo Conference, Bell played a pivotal role in securing the independence of Iraq. The newspapers dubbed her “the uncrowned queen of Mesopotamia” and her political importance was reflected in the company she kept. This publicity photo from the conference shows the matronly mink-stoled Bell out for a camel ride with British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill (on the camel at far left) and her close friend T.E. Lawrence, widely known as Lawrence of Arabia (immediately to the right of Bell).