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Watchalong to celebrate life of Sikh prince whose generosity benefitted Norfolk town

PUBLISHED: 12:06 13 June 2020 | UPDATED: 13:17 13 June 2020

The statue of the last King of Punjab, Maharajah Duleep Singh, at Butten Island in Thetford. Picture: Archant

The statue of the last King of Punjab, Maharajah Duleep Singh, at Butten Island in Thetford. Picture: Archant

Archant

The life of a Sikh prince who left a lasting legacy in Norfolk and Suffolk is to be the focus of a unique online event.

The grave of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the Sikh Empire, is at Elveden Church, near Thetford. Picture: ArchantThe grave of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the Sikh Empire, is at Elveden Church, near Thetford. Picture: Archant

Thetford’s Ancient House Museum and the Sikh Museum Initiative have joined forces to celebrate the life of Maharajah Duleep Singh, the last ruler of the Sikh Empire.

After his kingdom was taken from him by the British in the 1840s, the Maharajah was brought to England where he was befriended by Queen Victoria and later lived at Elevden Hall, near Thetford.

His son, Prince Frederick Duleep Singh, was the founder of Ancient House Museum and, with Thetford having benefitted greatly from their generosity, Prince Charles unveiled a statue of the Maharajah at Butten Island in 1999.

At 2pm on Sunday (June 14), audiences around the world are invited to join a watchalong of the 2017 film ‘The Black Prince’, which explores the troubled life of the Maharajah.

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Viewers can participate on Twitter with the hashtag #BlackPrinceAlong, before joining a Facebook Live event at 4.15pm with a panel featuring Satinder Sartaaj, the film’s star and a world-renowned singer-songwriter.

“It is wonderful to know that my film is bringing people around the world together to view the story of the last Maharajah of Punjab from their own homes,” said Mr Sartaaj.

“I am looking forward to answering questions during the after-show discussion.”

John Ward, chairman of the Norfolk Joint Museums Committee at Norfolk County Council, added: “We’re delighted that Ancient House Museum is involved in this exciting digital event. The museum owes its existence to the Duleep Singh family.

“In recent years, staff at the museum have been working to research and interpret this important story, collaborating with the Sikh Museum Initiative and Essex Cultural Diversity Project on two major cultural festivals connecting Thetford, Norfolk and Punjab.

“This latest event will further extend these links – we hope it’ll bring people together from across the world to enjoy a fascinating shared experience.”

Audience members can submit questions for the Facebook Live via Twitter, or visit Eventbrite to book a free space in the Zoom call.


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