Possessions of last Sikh Maharajah of Punjab to be auctioned in Scotland

December 4th, 2009 - 1:35 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Dec 4 (ANI): A ceremonial jacket that once belonged to Maharajah Duleep Singh, who was the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab, India, is set to take centre stage at a major auction in Scotland.

The sale by UK Auction House Lyon and Turnbull will take place on December 9th in Edinburgh, Scotland.

A pair of shoes that belonged to Duleep, who was also Britain’s first Sikh settler, are also being sold off, reports The Scotsman.

According to experts, the maroon velvet coat, which features elaborate gold-braided work, will fetch up to 80,000 pounds, while the shoes are expected to command bids in the region of 20,000 pounds.

In 1843, the infant Duleep was thrust forward as the Sovereign of “Land of the Five Rivers” at the tender age of five years, and found himself at the head of one of the most powerful independent kingdoms in the Indian sub-continent and a thorn in the advancement of the British Empire.

With misleading ministers and irresponsible guardians, two wars were fought against the British, resulting in the minor Duleep separated from his mother, surrendering of the famed Koh-i-Noor diamond and removal from power by the underhanded means of the East India Company.

He was exiled to Britain, where he became an instant favorite of Queen Victoria.

Philip Gregory, a spokesman for Lyon and Turnbull, said: “Queen Victoria was won over by the maharajah on their first encounter, stating, ‘He is extremely handsome and speaks English perfectly and has a pretty, graceful and dignified manner’.

“He passed his time with the crème de la crème of Victorian high society, shooting game with the Prince of Wales at his numerous Highland and English estates, and led a most extravagant and lavish lifestyle, often above his means.” (ANI)

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