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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Grand London mansion, once home to Maharaja Duleep Singh’s son, up for sale at 15.5 million pounds

Maharaja Duleep Singh’s son, Prince Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh, used to reside in a sprawling mansion in the heart of London. And now the royal family home is up for sale with a price tag of 15.5 million pounds.

For the unversed, Maharaja Duleep Singh was Maharaja Ranjeet Singh’s youngest son and the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire including Lahore in the 19th century. He was removed from Punjab along with his title and power at the end of the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849. He had to eventually live in exile after his empire came under the British Raj. Subsequently, his son, Prince Victor, was born in London in 1866 and Queen Victoria was his godmother. Not to miss, he had created a stir in the English society with his mixed-race marriage to Lady Anne Coventry, the daughter of the 9th Earl of Coventry. But what happened after that was that he was given a grace-and-favour mansion in The Little Boltons area of south-west Kensington as his new marital home with his newly-wedded wife.

The new home was designed with high ceilings, large living spaces and a 52 ft rear garden, as confirmed by Jeremy Gee, Managing Director of Beauchamp Estates, which is organising the sale. Its exact location is one of south-west Kensington’s most sought after residential addresses. Interestingly, the house was completed in late 1868 and it 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 further leased the property for a token rent to the displaced Duleep Singh family.

Apart from the aforementioned mansion, the erstwhile royal family also had properties in Wimbledon and Roehampton and a 17,000-acre country house, Elveden Hall, in Suffolk, eastern England. Prince Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh was his eldest son with Maharani Bamba Muller and they also had a daughter Sophia Duleep Singh, a prominent suffragette and women’s rights activist in British history. While Victor Jay Duleep Singh was known to be a “handsome and dashing” prince already, his wedding was perpetuated by the intervention of Prince Victor’s gambling buddy, Edward, then the Prince of Wales and subsequently King Edward VII.

Like his friend, Prince Victor also loved the high-life, including gambling, horse racing and partying at Claridges Hotel in London’s Mayfair. And of course, Little Boltons home and an annual allowance of 8,250 pounds and his wife’s income of 2,500 pounds per year wasn’t enough. He was eventually declared bankrupt in 1902 with debts totalling GBP 117,900 — a large sum at the time.

Now as per Beauchamp Estates, the property eventually went into private ownership. In 2010, the property was modernised. The 5,613 sq ft sprawling villa includes two large roof terraces, two formal reception rooms, an informal family room, a family kitchen and breakfast room, five bedrooms, a gymnasium and two staff bedrooms. “The entire first floor provides the principal bedroom suite… During the Victorian and Edwardian eras when Prince and Princess Victor Duleep Singh lived at the house this floor provided them with two VIP bedroom suites, the royals sleeping separately and meeting for breakfast together on the rear bedroom terrace,” the listing notes.

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