An elegant mansion in London’s Kensington which was once home to an exiled prince who was a godson of Queen Victoria has gone on the market for £15.5million.
The stunning five-bedroom property in The Little Boltons was occupied by Victor Duleep Singh, son of the last Maharaja of Lahore Sir Duleep Singh – now part of Pakistan – during the Victorian era.
After his exile Prince Victor married Lady Anne Coventry, the daughter of the 9th Earl of Coventry, in January 1898 – a mix-raced union which caused a furore in London high society as it was the first time an Indian royal had married an English noblewoman.
The match was resisted by both families, but helped along by Prince Victor’s friends in high places – most notably Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII, and the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, best known as the financial backer of the search for and excavation of Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922.
In 2010 the exquisite semi-detached villa was refurbished and modernised, with a stylish, contemporary extension added to the lower ground floor level, creating a large open space with full height glazing opening onto the generous 52 foot rear garden.
It spans 5,613 sq ft and boasts two formal reception rooms as well as an informal family or media room, a family kitchen and breakfast room, and a gym.
On the raised ground floor there is a large entrance hall with timber flooring and high ceilings, giving access to the front drawing room with a large bay window and, to the rear of the house, the kitchen and breakfast room and separate dining room.
The modern family kitchen has polished green and brushed-steel units with two sets of French doors opening onto the first floor roof terrace. The adjoining dining room also opens onto this outdoor space.
On the lower ground floor there is a large open plan living space providing a family room, media room and informal dining area, bordered by floor-to-ceiling glass sliding walls which open onto the large paved terrace and rear garden.
This large open plan space gives access to the gymnasium, with the staff quarters to the front of the lower ground floor. The home was originally staffed with a butler, two maids, a governess and a gardener.
The entire first floor provides the principal bedroom suite, with the main bedroom benefiting from access to a private balcony and terrace, complete with a walk-in dressing room, opening onto two balconies and the main bathroom.
During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, when Prince and Princess Victor Duleep Singh lived at the house, this floor provided them with two VIP bedroom suites.
On the upper floors there are four further bedrooms, two with en suite bathrooms and two sharing a main bathroom.
The Little Boltons house was originally built by builder John Spicer between 1866-68, designed by architect George Godwin junior, under the auspices of Robert Gunter, of the wealthy confectionery family who had invested their fortune in luxury property development.
Spicer was chosen to build the houses in The Little Boltons because he had constructed the grandest houses in Pimlico for the Grosvenor family.
Upon completion in late 1868, the house in The Little Boltons was purchased by the quasi-Government owned East India Company, and registered as an investment property to be leased for rental income.
The East India Company leased the property for a peppercorn rent to the Duleep Singh family, the former Royal Maharajas of Lahore, who since the 1840s had been exiled in Britain when the East India Company and the British Raj took over their state.
Jeremy Gee, managing director of Beauchamp Estates, said: ‘This substantial former ‘grace-and-favour’ home of the exiled Crown Prince of Lahore has been designed to provide excellent proportions and benefits from high ceilings, large living spaces and a 52 ft rear garden.
‘It is located in one of south-west Kensington’s most sought after residential addresses.’