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Author: Peter Bance
Foreword/Introduction: Patwant Singh
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780956127006
At the age of five years, Maharajah Duleep Singh found himself on the golden throne of the Punjab, the ‘land of five rivers’, one of the most powerful independent Kingdoms in the Asian sub-continent and a thron in the advancement of the British Empire. A country built by his father, the legendary one-eyed Line-of-the-Punjab, Ranjit Singh, who was a contemporary of Napoleon, and who ruled the region by the power of his sword and with the fear of his name. The infant Maharajah Duleep Singh had much to live up to, although he found the enemies of his reign were not just from over the British-Sutlej border.
After the Anglo-Sikhs Wars, Maharajah Duleep Singh, still a minor, was separated from his mother, surrendered the famed Koh-i-noor diamond and was removed from power by the underhand-means of the East India Company. Effectively exiled to Britain, he became an instant favourite of queen Victoria and an exotic party accessory. He passed his time with the crème de la crème of Victorian high society; shooting game with the Prince of Wales in his very own Indian Palace in Suffolk’s Elvden Hall and leading a most extravagant and lavish lifestyle. But after trying his hand at writing a West End play, standing for parliament, playing the field, and remonstrating with the British Government for the shortfall of his stipend, the deposed soverign became disillusioned by his surroundings and sought to make a stand against the tyrannical establishment!
The story of Maharajah Duleep Singh and his heirs is told with astounding and dazzling imagery, with unseen photographs of his family and friends, along with an array of rich Sikh art from the period, with famous canvases commissioned by the Maharajah which have become masterpieces in their own right. His family, the ‘Heirs to the Lost Kingdom’ who became the godchildren of queen Victoria, played their own part in the story of Britain’s first Sikh and Indian royal family, from being suffragette companions of Christabel Pankhurst, assisting Jews escape Nazi Germany, benefactors to East Anglia, founding a Norfolk Museum, patrons of numerous English establishments, marrying a Earl’s daughter, to holding a mysterious dormant Swiss bank account. The story of the Duleep Singh’s will surely keep every reader captivated.
The Rise of the Sikh Empire
The Birth of a Prince
An Exile to Fatehgarh
The Voyage to England
Maharani Jind Kaur and A Marriage in Aden
A Country Squire
From Aden to Europe
The Maharajah’s Second Family
Princess Bamba Sutherland
The Legacy of Maharajah Duleep Singh