Maharani Ada Duleep Singh

Ada Douglas Wetherill was born on the 15 January 1869 at 10 Oval Road, Kennington in Surrey[1] to Charles Douglas Wetherill, and Sarah Charlotte of Bishopstoke, Hampshire. Charles was a Civil engineer[1] whilst his wife Sarah worked at the Phoenix gasworks at Kennington. The family moved to 41 Great Ormond Street in Holburn, London in 1881, whilst Ada, aged 13, took employment as a domestic servant at a house in Easingwold, Yorkshire.[1]Ada later carried on her domestic work at Cox’s Hotel, in West London, where she was first acquainted with Duleep Singh. She would have been around 17 years old. In 1886 Ada met up with the Maharajah in Paris, her mother Sarah had moved to Greeminorm, and her father Charles had died leaving behind a second daughter.

The Maharajah and Ada became lovers when he was acquainted with her in London. When the Maharajah left Britain for Europe via Aden, he was met with Ada in Paris, and in 1889, the Maharajah proposed to Ada, as she was expecting their second child. Maharani Bamba had died and it only seemed right that his relationship with Ada was made legal as they already had one child born out of marriage. Ada duly accepted. Tevis mentioned to the Foreign Office in Whitehall that ‘Duleep Singh was married to this woman according to the forms of the Sikh religion some time ago…this marriage has been coming on some time’.[ii] The wedding took place at the town hall of the huitieme in Paris on the 21 May 1889

[i] PRO, OC to Foreign Office, dated 2.5.1889, f. 26/3

[ii] PRO, OC to Foreign Office, dated 2.5.1889, f. 26/3