Duleep Singh - The Last Maharaja Of Takht E Lahore

Qasim Khan Lahore

Maharaja Duleep Singh (also known as Dalip Singh), the last Sikh sovereign of the Punjab, was born at Lahore on 6 September 1838, the youngest son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

On 18 September 1843, at the age of five, he was, after the murder of Maharaja Sher Singh, proclaimed Maharaja of the Punjab with his mother, MaharanI Jind Kaur, as his Regent. But in December 1846, after the First Anglo-Sikh War, she was replaced by a British Resident and imprisoned. Mother and son were not allowed to meet again for thirteen and a half years. In April 1849 ten year old Duleep was put in the care of Dr John Login.

On 19 April 1854, the Maharaja and his party sailed for England where they reached in May 1854. In England Maharaja Duleep Singh lived in the first instance with the Login family and was presented to Queen Victoria who took very favourably to him. In January 1861, Duleep Singh visited India, but was not permitted to come to the Punjab. He halted at Calcutta where his mother, Maharani Jind Kaur, then living in exile at Kathmandu in Nepal, met him after 13 years. Duleep Singh took her to England where she died after about two years later on 1 August 1863. During the last two years of her life, his mother told the Maharaja about his Sikh heritage and the Empire which once had been his to rule.

Maharaja married at the British Consulate at Alexandria in Egypt, on 7 June 1864, Bamba Muller, daughter of a German merchant, Ludwig Muller, and Abysenian Egyptian mother, Sofia.

On his return to England, the Maharaja and Maharani Bamba lived for the first few years at Elveden, a sporting estate, of which the Maharaja had got possession in September 1864. Maharaja Duleep Singh and Maharani Bamba had six children, Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh, Fredrick Victor Duleep Singh, Bamba Sofia Jindan Duleep Singh, Catherine Hilda Duleep Singh, Sofia Alexandra Duleep Singh and Albert Edward Alexander Duleep Singh, born between the years 1866 and 1979.

Drained financially and destitute of friends, he died in his hotel room in Paris on 22 October 1893. His body was taken to Elveden, England, by his son Prince Victor, where it was interred beside the graves of Prince Frederick and Prince Edward.