Princess Pauline & Princess Irene Duleep Singh

Of the Maharajah’s children from his second marriage, Princesses Irene and Pauline, very little is known about them as they led very isolated lives. On the 26 December 1887 Maharani Ada gave birth out of wedlock to a baby girl. She was named Princess Pauline Alexandrina Duleep Singh.In the winter of 1892 the Maharajah and Maharani Ada took a holiday to the Algiers, with Prince Victor and Prince Frederick, where Princesses Pauline and Irene were baptised into the Christian faith. In 1914 Princess Pauline married J.S.A. Torry, 2nd Lieutenant of the 12th Battalion Rifle Brigade, but a year later he died of wounds in the Battle of the Loos on the 19 September 1915. She had befriended Princess Sophia, and would often visit the family in Norfolk. Her stays at Old Buckenham Hall were well recorded in the visitor’s book,[i] but her death was unknown for many decades, until 2014 when a distance relative of her husband discovered whilst reseraching his genealogy, that she had died from Tubercolosis in 1941 in war-torn France. She is buried in an unmarked grave in Pau, France.

A second daughter was born to Maharani Ada on the 25 October 1889, who they named Princess Ada Irene Helen Benyl Duleep Singh. Princess Irene married a Frenchman, by the name of Pierre Marie Villament in Paris on the 15 March 1910. However, the Princess led a very troubled life and according to the Nice correspondent of the Petit Pariser, she was a neurasthenic, and made an attempt to end her life in 1925 by throwing herself from a window after separating from her husband in August. A year earlier she had been treated in a nursing home in England for the same disorder, but later moved back to Paris where she had taken up painting. Tragically on the 8 October 1926 local fishermen dragged her body out from the sea, off Monte Carlo. She was apparently much aggrieved with the death of her half-brother Prince Frederick who had died two months earlier. The Morning Post quoted Princess Irene as being ‘tired of life’ and a verdict of suicide was given.[ii]

[i] Old Buckenham & Blo Norton visitors book

[ii] Morning Post, 9 October 1926