Duleep Singh statue in Thetford

Maharajah Duleep Singh

Thetford has a close connection with Duleep Singh, the last Maharajah of the Punjab, and the first Sikh to settle in Britain. Duleep Singh’s second son, Frederick, was one of Thetford’s most prominent benefactors, giving the town Ancient House as well as his personal collections.

Duleep Singh became the first Sikh to settle in Britain at the age of eleven. He spent the first years of his life in the Punjab, but after the defeat of the Sikh army in 1847 the young prince was taken in guardianship by the British.
In 1849 Britain annexed the Punjab, allegedly in the name of Duleep Singh. However, Duleep gave up his sovereign rights and his property to the British, including the famous diamond known as the Koh-i-Noor, which is now part of the British Crown Jewels.Duleep became a favourite of Queen Victoria and the aristocratic elite. In 1863 he bought the estate of Elveden, close to Thetford, where he pursued a leisured life including shooting and hunting over the 17,000 acre estate. The Prince of Wales attended his hunting parties at Elveden.
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