Koch Bihar - Later Princes and Notables

Later Princes and Notables

Following the Indian Mutiny, the British East India company was dissolved, replaced by direct rule from the British government - the British Raj. Although the princely state of Cooch Behar was very small, it enjoyed a certain prominence since it was one of the very few states to lie within relatively easy distance of Calcutta, the hub of the British Raj. Due to this proximity, the Royal Family embraced westernization and this resulted in the family enjoying an ascendancy in British official circles, as well as in London society. The colonial government granted it 13 Gun Salutes and included it in the Salute States.

Col. HH Maharaja Sir Nripendra Narayan (ruled from 1863 - 1911), was born on 4 October 1862. He died on 18 September 1911. and was educated privately and later in England. He was admitted to Presidency College, Calcutta to study Law till 1881. He was married in 1878 to HH Maharani Suniti Devi Sen, who was born in 1864 and was the daughter of Maharishi Keshub Chandra Sen. He was conferred the title of Imperial Order of Crown on the occasion of Queen Victoria's Jubilee celebrations. He died in 1932. They had four sons and three daughters.

HH Maharaja Rajarajendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur (ruled from 1911 - 1913), was born on 11 April 1882 in Calcutta, and died unmarried 1 September 1913 in London. He was buried in Cooch Behar. He was educated at Mayo College, Ajmer in 1893, and then was sent to England in 1894 for further studies, where he gained entry into an Oxford College in 1900.

HH Maharaja Jitendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur (ruled from 1913 - 1922), was born on 20 December 1886 at Cooch Behar Palace. He died on 20 December 1922. He was educated privately under a British home tutor, and then admitted to Itan School in 1900. Later, he was admitted to Edinburgh University. He was married on 25 August 1913 in London to HH Maharani Indira Devi, who was born in 1892, and who in died 1968. She was the daughter of HH Maharaja Gaekwad Sir Sayajiro III Khanderao Gaekwad, Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur Farzand-i-Khas-i-Daulat-i-Inglishia of Baroda, and his second wife, HH Maharani Gajra Bai.

Maharaj Kumari Sukriti Devi ("Princess Girlie") was born in 1884. She died 1958. She was married in 1899 (sep'd.) to Jyotsnanath Ghosal, C.I.E., I.C.S., the Zamindar of Belgaum, and had issue.

Lt.Col. (Hon) HH Maharaja Sir Jagaddipendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur (ruled from 1922 - 1970), was born on 15 December 1915 at Cooch Behar Palace, and died on 11 April 1970 in Calcutta. He was educated at Harrow from 1927 - 1929 and Trinity Hall, Cambridge from 1929 - 1934. He was awarded the K.C.I.E. and was made the 7th Light Cavalry in the Indian Army. He served in World War II, and was granted full ruling powers on 6 April 1936. He married firstly about 1950 (div.), Nancy Valentine who was born on St. Albans, Long Island, and who was a Hollywood actress. He married secondly Gina Egan.

HH Maharani Gayatri Devi was born on 23 May 1919 in London. She was educated at Shantiniketan, Lausanne, Switzerland, London School of Secretaries, Brilliantmont and Monkey Club London. She was married on 9 May 1940 to HH Saramad-i-Rajahai Hindustan Raj Rajendra Shri Maharajadhiraj Sir Sawai Man Singh II Bahadur of Jaipur, and they had issue. She was the President of the All India Badminton Association, the Vice-President of the All India Lawn Tennis Association, the All India Swatantra Party, and the Rajasthan State Swatantra Party. She was the Director of the Rambagh Palace Hotel, Jaipur, and Gee Stud Farm Pvt Ltd., Chairman of the Governing Council of Maharani Gayatri Devi Girls Public School, Jaipur, Chairman of the Board of Trustee of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh Benevolent Trust, Jaipur, the Maharani Gayatri Soldier's Welfare Fund, Jaipur; the Sawai Ram Singh Shilp Kala Mandir, Jaipur; M/s Jaipur Durries Pvt Ltd, Jalpur and Rajasthan State Tourist Development Corporation, Jaipur; Member of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Lok Sabha, author of: "A Princess Remembers" and "A Government's Gateway", interests include photography, Fine Arts and Museums.

HH Maharaja Virajendra Narayan Bhup Bahadur (ruled from 1970 - 1992). He was born in 1944. He died in 1992. He was married firstly to Reena, secondly to Anna, and thirdly to Surekha Guring.

As the Maharani of Cooch Behar Indira Raje,ruled as regent after her husband's early death at the age of 36, and later became popular in the salons of Europe, earning the sobriquet "the ranee of cooch partout". One of their daughters, Gayatri Devi, married the Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Raja Man Singh and became an international celebrity, and was at one time in the middle of the twentieth century considered to be one of the most beautiful ladies in the world. Another daughter, Menaka Devi, married the Maharaja of Dewas (Jr.). Ila Devi, their eldest daughter, married into the Royal Family of Tripura. Her great-granddaughters are Ria and Raima, daughters of Moon Moon Sen.

While Jitendra Narayan's elder son and heir married an American actress and then an Englishwoman, their younger son married a daughter of the Maharaja of Pithapuram. The only son of the latter couple was the last dynast of the ruling family of Cooch Behar in the senior line. After he died childless in 1992, the headship of the family remains legally unclear. Gayatri Devi remained in charge of the family's affairs and was in touch with the administration of Coochbehar and the Government of West Bengal up until her death in 2009.

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