Partner Poppy Kirk

Queer Places:
Cimetiere Urbain - Pau Pau, Departement des Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Aquitaine, France

Princess Pauline Alexandra Duleep Singh (26 Dec 1887-10 Apr 1941) was the daughter of Sir Duleep Singh (1838–1893), also known as His Highness Maharaja Sir Duleep Singh, G.C.S.I., or Sir Dalip Singh[1] and later in life nicknamed the "Black Prince of Perthshire",[2] and Ada Douglas Wetherill (1869-1930).

Pauline was born in mid-winter Russia in a shabby boarding house, Hotel Billoi, in Moscow in 1887, as her father the Maharajah was plotting a rebellion with Russian agents for the liberation of Punjab and the subcontinent from the British occupation.

In 1914 Princess Pauline married Lieutenant John Shirley Archibald Torry (1889-1915), who died in the First World War at the Battle of Loos within a year of their marriage.

After the tragic suicide of her youngest sister, Princess Irene (1889-1926), at Monaco in 1926, the relationship between Princess Pauline and her siblings from her father’s first marriage became most strained. Pauline’s half-sister Princess Bamba had contested the ‘Last Will and Testament’ of Princess Irene, claiming that her vast estate worth over £20,000 be distributed amongst all the remaining family members. Bamba even took Princess Pauline to court over the matter in a lengthy and expensive trial. The court favoured that Pauline be the sole recipient as per Irene’s will. From then on the relationship between the siblings from the two different mothers was irreparable.

Pauline was romantically involved with Poppy Kirk (1899-1986).

In the late 1930s, Princess Pauline decided to shift to Paris due to the family feud. Although her other half-sisters Princess Catherine and Sophia Duleep Singh did keep some contact with Pauline for a time, when the Second World War broke out, Princess Pauline contracted tuberculosis. In those years, this was a very serious illness and in most cases incurable.

Pauline was placed at the Sanatorium de Trespoey in Pau, France. Due to the Second World War raging and France being a partially occupied territory, she could not get word back to her friends and family in England of her condition. Not even her own sisters would know how her last months were spent.

Pauline tragically died alone on the 10th of April, 1941 at Pau Sanatorium. She was buried by the officials in the nearby Pau Cemetery, her passing away unknown to her family. Her remains were later moved to an unmarked grave to make space for further burials.

Today, there is no gravestone to mark the Princess except an entry in the Pau Cemetery register to confirm that the grand-daughter of Maharajah Ranjit Singh lies in this forgotten corner of France.


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