A sprawling mansion in the heart of London which was presented as a marital home to Maharaja Duleep Singh’s son, Prince Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh, has gone on sale as a modern refurbished family house with a price tag of 15.5 million pounds.
Duleep Singh, as Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s youngest son, was the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire including Lahore in the 19th century until he was exiled to England when his empire came under the British Raj.
His son, Prince Victor, was born in London in 1866 and was taken under the wing of Queen Victoria as his godmother.
Many years later when he caused a stir in English society with his mixed-race marriage to Lady Anne Coventry, the daughter of the 9th Earl of Coventry, the British authorities leased a “grace-and-favour” mansion in The Little Boltons area of south-west Kensington to the newly married couple as their new marital home.
“This substantial former grace-and-favour home of the exiled Crown Prince of Lahore has been designed to provide excellent proportions and benefits from high ceilings, large living spaces and a 52 ft rear garden,” said Jeremy Gee, Managing Director of Beauchamp Estates, which is organising the sale.
“It is located in one of south-west Kensington’s most sought after residential addresses,” he said.
Upon completion in late 1868, the grand home was purchased by the quasi-government owned East India Company and registered as an investment property to be leased for rental income.
The East India Company, which had governed India until the British Crown took over its assets in 1858, leased the property for a token peppercorn rent to the displaced Duleep Singh family.
Besides the mansion, the displaced Indian royal family had use of properties in Wimbledon and Roehampton, also leased at peppercorn rents, as well as the use of a 17,000-acre country house, Elveden Hall, in Suffolk, eastern England.
Maharaja Duleep Singh was removed from Punjab along with his title and power at the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849 and later sent into exile in London.
Prince Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh was his eldest son with Maharani Bamba Muller, with whom he also had a daughter – Sophia Duleep Singh –a prominent suffragette and women’s rights activist in British history.