Maharajah Ranjit Singh died on 27 June, 1839 and after his death within a span of 10 years the Sikh empire disintegrated and Punjab was annexed by the British. Ranjit Singh had 7 sons from different wives. Sher Singh was the eldest and succeeded Ranjit Singh. He was a drunkard and addicted to drugs and soon died. His other six sons also did not survive long and in 1845 the youngest son Dalip Singh aged 7 from Maharani Jindan Kaur was crowned maharajah. After the second Sikh war he was deposed and put under the protection of the crown.
Dalip Singh was separated from his mother who escaped to Nepal where she was given refuge by the King of Nepal Raja Tirath. Dalip Singh was put in the care of Dr John Login, who took him to Fatehgarh a small town in north India, close to Kanpur. Dalip Singh grew up in a Christian environment and converted to Christianity.
In 1854 he was given permission by Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General to go to England. He arrived in England and quickly gained the confidence of the Royal family. He was invited to Windsor castle where he was sketched by Queen Victoria playing with her children. He was also painted by Walter Halter, the court artist.
The maharajah of Nepal negotiated with the British government and was able to get permission for Rani Jindan to join her son. Dalip Singh came back to India in 1861 and took his mother to England.
Rani Jindan met her son after a lapse of 12 years and both stayed together till she died in 1963. Dalip Singh brought her body back to India and built a mausoleum at Pune, as he was not allowed to go to the Punjab. He reconverted to Sikhism at Aden in a ceremony as he was not allowed to conduct the ceremony in India
On his return back to England he met Bamba Muller and after a torrid romance married her. They lived at Elvedon hall in Suffolk. He had 6 children from her. Dalip married a second time to Ada Douglas Wetherill and had 2 children from her.
Dalip having learnt of his heritage became embittered with the British. He made contact with Irish Fenians and Russian revolutionaries in a bid to put pressure on the British government. He also met the Czar in an effort to persuade him to invade North India and put him back on his throne. All these efforts came to naught. From 1885 Dalip Singh's health deteriorated and after a last meeting with Queen Victoria in 1891 he passed away in 1983 in Paris.
All the 8 children of Dalip Singh died without any legal issue and thus the first dynasty of Punjab has no living heirs. Two of Dalip Singhs sons studied at Eton and there is a memorial to them there.
The last of the princely clan to pass away was princess Bamba Duleep Singh. She died in Lahore in 1959 and her funeral was attended by members of the Pakistan government, but no Pakistani Sikh or Indian was allowed to attend the funeral. Princess Bamba Duleep Singh was born in 1869 and when in London styled herself as maharani of Punjab. She was against the partition of the Punjab and met many prominent Sikh leaders to stop this partition. She was married but had no offspring. Thus the last representative of Ranjit Singh’s family passed away and presently there are no living heir of the family.
Princess Bamba Dalip Singh