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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.

Princess Gouramma with her father Gouramma and her father soon after they arrived in London. (Credit: Illustrated London News)

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.

Queen Victoria Queen Victoria was very upset by her god-daughter Gouramma’s untimely death, and wrote the epitaph for her tomb. It includes the poignant words: ‘Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold’. (Credit: Wellcome Collection (CC BY))

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.

Duleep Singh The young Duleep Singh apparently regarded Gouramma as an ‘honorary sister’ rather than a potential wife. (Credit: Saibo / Wikimedia Commons)

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.

Princess Gouramma grave detail (Credit: Greywolf)

Further information

Princess Gouramma grave

(Credit: Greywolf)

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