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Duleep Singh

Early Photographs in the Royal Collection

Dr Ernst Becker (1826-88)

Maharaja Duleep Singh of Lahore (1838–93) 23 August 1854

RCIN 2906149

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Duleep Singh arrived in London in 1854 and was received by Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace on 1 July that year. After their first meeting the Queen described the young Maharaja in her journal as

16 & extremely handsome [...he] has a pretty, graceful & dignified manner. He was beautifully dressed & covered with diamonds

Queen Victoria, Journal, (RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 1 July 1854)

Duleep Singh quickly became a close friend of the royal family, visiting them at Osborne that summer, where he continued to make a favourable impression on the Queen.

He is shown here on the terrace of Osborne House, in a photograph by Dr Ernst Becker, Prince Albert’s librarian. Becker entered the Royal Household in May 1851 and was responsible for establishing a connection between Prince Albert and the world of professional photography. He was an accomplished photographer and founding member of the Photographic Society.