Presenting the most glamorous style icons from Indian royalty – women who were at the height of fashion in their day and still remembered decades after!
H.H. Maharani Sri Bakhtawar Kaur Sahiba of Patiala (1892-1960) was the ‘official’ queen of Bhupinder Singh, the most famous Maharaja of Patiala, best known for his extravagance, ten wives and numerous consorts.
Maharani Indira Raje Devi (1892-1968) defied her parents and broke off her ‘arranged’ engagement to the Scindia ruler of Gwalior to marry for love. The other gentleman would later become the Maharaja of Cooch Behar so it didn’t all turn out too bad after all!
Maharani Jind Kaur, also popularly known as Maharani Jindan (1817-1863) was the youngest wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh,and the mother of the last Sikh Emperor, Maharaja Duleep Singh. She was renowned for her great beauty and personal charm along with her ‘characteristic strength of a man’ qualities.
Niloufer Farhat Begum Sahiba (1916-1989) was one of the last princesses of the Ottoman Empire, and married to the second son of the last Nizam of Hyderabad. As no other lady of the Hyderabad royal family had ever moved about unveiled or attended cocktail parties or even public events, Niloufer came to be regarded as a torch-bearer for women’s advancement in her days.
Rani Amrit Kaur Sahib of Mandi (1904- 1948) was the only daughter of Maharaja Sir Jagatjit Singh Bahadur of Kapurthala. Married to His Highness the Raja of Mandi in 1923, she was a driving force behind many welfare groups and charity organizations of her time.
Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur (1919-2009) is India’s most famous style icon. Celebrated for her classical beauty, she was featured in Vogue’s 10 most beautiful list in the 60s. Mentioned in The Guinness Book of Records for having the most expensive wedding in the 1940s, her nuptials had so many guests that her father’s palace in Bengal could not accommodate them. Her presents included a blue Bentley, a two-seater Packard and a mansion in the Himalayas. Her trousseau included sheets from Czechoslovakia, shoes from Florence, and nightgowns in mousseline de soie from Paris!
Maharani Brinda Devi of Kapurthala (1890-1962) had a collection of jewels that “made Tiffany and Cartier turn in their vaults.”
Maharani Sita Devi Sahib of Baroda (1917-1989) was known as the “Indian Wallis Simpson“. Her colorful and extravagant lifestyle made her a prominent member of the international jet set.
Maharani Chimnabai of Baroda, the one who famously instructed her grand daughter Gayatri Devi to “never wear emeralds with a green sari … they look so much better with pink.”
Rani Sita Devi of Kapurthala (1915-2002) was widely regarded as one of the most glamorous women of her day. A muse for several top photographers, at age 19 she was anointed by Vogue Magazine as the latest “secular goddess.” Three years later Look named her one of the five best dressed women on earth.