The Maharajah's Box: An Imperial Intrigue by Christy Campbell
In July 1997, the Swiss Bankers' Association, under international pressure to atone for wartime compliance with Hitler's Germany, published a list of over 1700 "dormant accounts", untouched for over 50 years. The names were supposedly those of Jewish victims of the Holocaust, but among them was an Indian princess, "last heard of in 1942 living in Penn, Bucks". Intrigued, Christy Campbell, a journalist on the "Sunday Telegraph", started to search the records, and so uncovered the remarkable story of how Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last Emperor of the Sikhs, was made by the British - as a nine-year-old in 1849 - to sign away his kingdom of the Punjab and give Queen Victoria the Koh-i-Noor diamond (the most celebrated diamond in the world, and the jewel in Britain's Crown). Duleep Singh, a virtual prisoner of Queen Victoria in England, began to dream of regaining his kingdom, and so embarked on a series of adventures (involving Russia and the "Great Game" of Central Asia) before finally begging Victoria's forgiveness. He had six children and died in 1893. What he did not know was that different factions in Russia were making use of him - and the British secret service were doing likewise. At the end of the millennium, the Sikhs still claim their inheritance, including the Koh-i-Noor and the non-divided Punjab.