Prince William’s upcoming wedding might be inspiring a media firestorm, but in India, a less glitzy type of royal ceremony took place this week in which a 12-year-old boy was crowned Maharaja of Jaipur, effectively becoming the head of what was once one of the country’s most wealthy royal families.
As the AFP is reporting, Kumar Padmanabh Singh was blessed by priests in an elaborate coronation ceremony before being lead into the city palace to receive a military guard of honor. In keeping with royal tradition, the elegant ceremony was attended by members of the former princely states along with prominent citizens of Jaipur.
The pre-teen royal is the grandson of Jaipur’s last officially recognized king Bhawani Singh. A hero of the 1971 war, the elder Singh died on April 16 at the age of 79. Padmanabh, whom Bhawani had adopted as his son and heir, had lit the funeral pyre and performed all the rituals traditionally done by a son, the Calcutta Telegraph is reporting.
Indian royal titles are no longer legally recognized after independence from Britain in 1947 and a series of government reforms in the 1970s. Still, royal families are revered by locals, and remain in possession of some of their palaces and treasures.