Maharajah Bhupinder Singh was the ruler of the state of Patiala. He ascended the ‘gaddi’ throne as a minor before being confirmed as ruler in 1907. The Maharajah ruled for 32 years and lived a flamboyant life. That was the age of Nawabs, rajas and maharajas who were pampered by the British, as it was proclaimed by Queen Victoria, that Rajas and Indian Princes would be allowed to continue in power, so long they accepted Britain as the paramount power. this benefitted the state of Patiala and the ruling family there.
The Indian rulers were thus a protected species and instead of looking after the development of the state indulged in pursuits of pleasure and many picked up wives and mistresses at the drop of a hat. The Maharajah Bhupinder Singh of Patiala was one of them. He was extremely fond of cars and young women. In particular his love for Rolls Royce cars bordered on the extreme.
The Maharajah was a great lover as well. He had 10 official wives and at least 80 concubines and in the process fathered over 100 children. Bhupinder Singh lived a regal life and it is on record that 60% of the state revenue was spent on him,his palaces, cars and women. He also frequently travelled to Europe where he hobnobbed with the leaders there and also twice met Hitler.
The Maharajah’s wives lived in oppulance and his jewels were 3 sister princesses from Himachal. He had married all 3 princesses. The Maharajah was a frequent visitor to Simla and there met an English girl. She fell in love with Bhupinder Singh and eloped with him. It was learnt that she may have been daughter or relation of Lord Kitcner the C in C of the Indian army. An incensed Kitchner promptly banned the Maharajah from entering Simla. The Maharajah took this ban in his stride and shifted to Chail, an adjacent hill station with his English love. he developed Chail and also built the higest cricket ground in the world there. His palace is still in existence and is used as a five star hotel by Himachal tourism. the palce is modelled on an English castle and is a wonder to behold. the master bedroom suite where the Maharajah took his mistresses and loves, gives a feeling of nostalgia
The Maharajah in his Rolls
Maharajah Bhupinder Singh lived his life to the hilt. He was perhaps the last of the Maharajas who made lived so colorful a life.