Princess Victoria Gouramma (1841-1864)
Exiled Indian princess adopted by Queen Victoria.
Gouramma and her father, Chikka Virarajendra, were the first Indian royals ever to come to England in 1852. He was the ruler of Coorg (Kodagu) in the south west of Indian, until deposed and exiled by the British.
Queen Victoria hosted their visit to England. She immediately took a shine to the 11-year-old girl and decided to become her godmother. Gouramma was the first Indian royal to be converted to Christianity, and was baptised Victoria by the Archbishop of Canterbury. She was made an honorary princess, and was often seen with the royal family.
The queen thought she could encourage the spread of Christianity in India by match-making Princess Victoria Gouramma with the deposed young Maharaja of the Punjab. Duleep Singh had also recently come to Britain and converted. But there was no spark between the two, and Gouramma fell instead for a much older army colonel, John Campbell. They married in 1860 and had a daughter the following year.
Unfortunately, Campbell was a great gambler. He took advantage of his wife’s wealth, and the relationship did not last. Tragically, Gouramma died of tuberculosis aged 23, when her beloved daughter Edith was just three years old.