Classic DACB Collection

All articles created or submitted in the first twenty years of the project, from 1995 to 2015.

Bamba Muller


Bamba, which means “pink” in Arabic, was just a young lady of fifteen (born around 1848) when the American Presbyterian missionaries in Cairo wrote down her story. Amidst other names of early Protestant Christians in Egypt, her single name piques one’s curiosity considering how young she was: who was she and what did she contribute to the development of the Presbyterian Church? Some, however, have felt that she did not do much for the early Egyptian Presbyterian Church because she left the country just several months after her conversion and confirmation, while others felt that her unwavering faith and innocent obedience, and her (or her husband’s) financial contribution to the young mission are worth recognizing and re-telling.

This story begins in late 1863 or early 1864, when a group of eight young men and one girl applied for confirmation or admission to communion. While five of the young men were advised to delay, the public dedication of the remaining four, the girl included, produced a deep impression on the witnessing congregation. Six months before this, the only girl communicant Bamba Muller–daughter of Ludwig Muller, the respected and well-known partner in the German firm of merchant bankers, Todd Muller and Co., in Alexandria [1] and of an Abyssinian slave living in Cairo–had found the Christian’s joy in life after a long period of doubts and fears, and from that moment on her spiritual development had been rapid and her influence felt. Her father had placed her at the American mission to acquire “a proper Christian education.” [2] However, she received more than a “proper education,” developed spiritually as a Christian, and underwent a religious experience and publicly expressed her faith in Jesus Christ. When she rose from the midst of her girl-schoolmates to take her stand beside the young men and to answer the questions addressed to her about her faith, the effect on her companions was marked.[3] One of the missionaries, in writing to the secretary of the board about the event, says:

We found on examination that for more than a year she had been under serious impressions, and that after spending several months under deep conviction of sin she had at last given herself wholly up to Jesus, and found peace; and that ever since then she has been teaching her mother and praying with her morning and evening; now her only wish was to be used by Him in bringing her, all her fellow teachers and pupils to a saving knowledge of the truth. On Sabbath morning she and three young men were publicly admitted into the fellowship of the church. There were wet eyes that morning among her female companions. One of the verses read at the opening of the service, Rom. 8:13a, went as an arrow to the heart of one of the teachers, who had hitherto been trusting in her own piety and prayers, rather than in Jesus. Helena, one of Miss Hart’s teachers, wept by her side, and several others seemed deeply impressed. These were called together after service was over, and solemnly urged to give themselves at once to Jesus. After passing several days and nights in deep conviction of sin, first one, then another, and then a third, were enabled to say that they had found Him; and now they meet together daily during the intermission of prayer along with several of the girls who are also seeking the Savior.[4]

Rev. Dr. John Hogg, one of the pioneer missionaries, described the fifteen-year old pupil-assistant teacher Bamba as “beautiful and unsophisticated, extremely winning in all her ways, and graceful, even queenly, in her movements.” And her missionary friends felt that she “has such a character as heroines are made of,” but looked forward anxiously to the future, fearing lest an unsuitable marriage might occur to mar her fine development. At the same time, in her father’s heart hung heavily the responsibility for his innocent daughter’s destiny, because he had observed that her innate superiority rendered marriage with any of her mother’s relatives an injustice, while the circumstances of her birth (being an illegitimate child yet adopted by her father) seemed to bar her entrance into a status in life that she was fitted to adorn.[5] Suddenly the problem seemed to have a solution in the fashion of the fairy tale of “Cinderella,” from working in the kitchen to becoming a princess.

Two months had passed since Bamba’s admittance into the communion, when the Maharajah Duleep Singh–the son of the renowned late King Runjit Singh of the Punjab in northern India, heir to the throne, known as “the Black Prince of Perthshire,”[6] who had become a Christian and was living in both England and Scotland in exile–came to Cairo. He was passing for a short time in Egypt on his way to India, to bury his mother’s body according to the rites of the Sikh religion, in which she had lived and died. Since he himself was a Christian, he visited the mission house in Cairo on February 10, 1864, and showed interest in the mission and its various operations, especially the schools. Two days later he visited again, and spent almost the whole afternoon in the schools. Before leaving, he presented a gift of $100 for the provision of prizes for the most deserving of the children. One of the missionaries wrote a letter in September 1864 about his visit, saying: “From the first, we were much struck with his modesty, simplicity and humility, and the genial, loving, genuine tone of his Christian character. We subsequently learned from himself that though he broke caste when but six years of age, yet it was only about three years ago that he was truly converted, under the ministry of Rev. Jay, an evangelical clergyman of the Church of England.”[7]

The Maharajah visited the mission again a few days after the second visit, and spent a few hours in the girls’ school, which was under the supervision of Miss Sarah Dales (who later on became Mrs. Gulian Lansing). On this third visit, he had the first glimpse of Bamba, who from her sweet face, quiet and dignified manner, always attracted the attention of everyone. Miss Dales told him that she was the first and only girl from the schools who had, up to that moment, made a public confession of her faith in Christ for salvation, and had been admitted into the communion. Before leaving that day, he presented a gift of $250 for the general expenses of the mission, with the specification of using $100 for starting a library for the pupils. Later on he bought the needed books. He also asked if the missionaries would provide a teacher to teach him the Arabic language, because he said that he was thinking of staying in Cairo during the winter seasons. His visits did not stop there,[8] and on the last day of February or the first day of March 1864, he sent a note to Rev. Hogg saying:

My Dear Mr. Hogg,

I was desirous of having a talk with you this morning in private, but did not have the opportunity of meeting with you alone.

What I wished to have spoken to you about was whether there was in either of your schools a truly Christian girl who has joined the Church, and whom you and Miss Dales could recommend me for a wife. Being an Easterner myself, it is very desirable that I should find a wife from the same quarter of the globe.

Will you keep this matter quite secret and will you let me have an answer before I leave for Suez this evening, so that should there be no one in your schools here I may look out for one in India?

Rank and position in life are of no consequence to me. What I want is a truly Christian girl who loves the Lord Jesus in sincerity and truth.

I am,

Yours faithfully,

Duleep Singh [9]

The contents of the note overwhelmed the missionaries with mingled feelings of pleasure, astonishment, and perplexity.[10] They had scarcely finished reading the letter when Bamba at once came into their minds, because she fitted every qualification he wanted in his future wife. However, they felt the heavy responsibility of being in any way instrumental in “transplanting a young, tender flower like this from its native soil, in which it was growing in vigor and beauty everyday, to a region and climate where it might pine away and die from exposure to withering blasts, and the want of the careful culture and genial atmosphere which in its infancy it had been fostered.”[11] Their fear was not unfounded after all, a point which I will expound upon later; but at that time, the tone of the prince’s note strengthened the deep impression the missionaries had formed of his Christian character. As one of the missionaries wrote, “the prayerful attitude in which he (the prince) seemed to have been looking (for a wife), and still looked, on the whole subject made us thankful that the matter was of the Lord, and we believed that He would give us, and all concerned, to do what in the end would most advance His glory.”[12]

Therefore, after having consulted with Rev. Samuel Ewing, Rev. Hogg went to see the prince in the hotel. He had a long conversation with the latter, during which the prince repeated what he had stated in his note about his prayer to find a helpmate who could both sympathize and cooperate with him in all good works. He also said that this visit to the East was not by his own initiative, and that he did not know when he might be given another opportunity; and if he was to find an Oriental wife, now was his chance. It was then that Rev. Hogg mentioned Bamba as “a girl of very pleasing exterior, graceful, winning manners, of the most transparent simplicity, and above all a true devoted Christian.”[13] He also told the prince about her parentage, of her humble way of life with her Abyssinian mother, and of her limited education apart from studying the Bible. The prince was agreeable to the candidate, having been very much taken by her personal appearance, and reassured Rev. Hogg that the circumstances of her birth were of no concern to him as long as the missionaries commended her as a girl worthy of love and honor.

After praying over the matter overnight by himself and the next day with the missionaries, the prince came to the conclusion that the hand of the Lord was in it, and announced that he was ready to propose to Bamba, with Miss Dales as the medium. Bamba received the proposal with perfect composure, but said that she wanted to devote her whole life to God by serving in the school, like Miss Dales. She had not thought that serving God could be done outside the boundary of the school and the mission house. But when it was suggested to her that the proposal could be God’s call to a wider service, she was willing to consider and weigh the claim, and she requested that the matter be forwarded to her father for decision.[14]

The father, however, contrary to the custom, allowed her to make the decision herself. This left her in a very hard position, especially considering her limited knowledge of the world and of the sphere of Christian service. Her daily world was going from her little room, where she lived with her mother, to the school in the morning and coming back again in the evening. She had never mingled with the local society, in particular the European society. Miss Dales and Miss Hart tried to broaden her ideas of the bounds and fields of Christian usefulness, and gave her information about the various means and ways of the high, middle, and humble life to serving God, that she might be in a position to decide the question of duty in an intelligent manner. Rev. Hogg told her the ways by which the rich and the poor could serve God in their different spheres, and showed her how it was her duty at all costs to live a life of faith and good works.

This much was clear, for the Word of God enjoined it. Yet, while Jesus ordered her to serve Him, He had not told her that she must remain in any particular sphere in order to be able to serve Him. It was, therefore, her duty to say like Paul, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?” When once a sphere of usefulness had been found for her she should remain in it till called by God to leave it. God addressed His people in various ways - in His word and in His providence. She would learn from the Word of God that when an opening occurred by which she could become a means of doing greater good to the world and forwarding more effectually the cause of Christ, that should be regarded as a call from God for her to enter by it, unless there should be serious objections in the way, and God’s providence seemed to point in another direction. Could she discern any such counter-current, or think of any serious objections? If she could, let her indicate them, and balance them in her own mind, according as God might give her grace to do so impartially. If she could not mention any, then let her look at the course of providence as indicated in the history of the prince, and also in her own, and let this help to strengthen any convictions that might have begun to dawn upon her mind.[15]

Rev. Hogg then laid the whole matter before her to pray and think about until God sent light. After four days and nights of almost constant prayer and anxious thought, light broke through the darkness. She felt that the proposal was from God, and announced that she was willing to obey it. She then wrote to her father, which when translated reads like this:

To my beloved and revered father, greeting! I wished at first that the answer should be given by yourself about this matter, and when you referred the thing wholly to myself, I was in darkness and did not know what to do, on account of my ignorance and youth. So I committed the matter and all my anxieties to God, that He might direct me and make His will evident to me, for I did not wish to follow mine own. After praying for a long time, waiting for an answer to my petitions, the light of His countenance dawned upon me, and it has now become clear to me that it is His will that I should leave the school and serve Him in this new position, and if it please God, I wish to live for Christ and glorify His name all the days of my life, for He loves me, and He even died for me. This I send with many salaams, and love to you and all who love you, and that the Lord may be with you forever, is the earnest prayer of your loving daughter.


Cairo, March 3, 1864[16]

This is where some people see her acting like Mary, when she said, “I am the Lord’s servant, May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38, NIV) The task that was set before both of them was of great magnitude and very scary: one to become a mother while still virgin and unmarried, the other to become a princess and to be thrust into a world she had not lived before. They did not know where it would lead them and how it would end: in happiness or in sadness. What they knew only was that God wanted them to trust Him, and to submit and obey to His will.

Immediately after Bamba accepted the proposal, preparations for her future position were begun and carried on with tact and vigor by the missionaries. As she had been brought up in a very humble manner and her way of living had been in the native style, like sitting on a mat or rug while eating at a low table, she was unaccustomed to sitting on a chair while eating. Now she had to be trained to sit down with princes, to sit at the head of her own table, and give orders in the presence of guests. Mrs. Hogg wrote about it two months after the wedding, saying:

We ladies then had to set about getting her wardrobe stocked, for we thought that she ought at once get a Frank outfit, so that she might know how to wear such things, and to move gracefully, which she could not well do in her native costume. What could be bought ready-made was procured, but dresses had to be sent to a dressmaker and fitted, so that after two months have elapsed she has only got a limited supply of dresses, although we did all we could to hurry up matters. Meanwhile we all tried to help her on in studying English. Mr. Ewing gave her writing lessons and I began her with music. Table linen and all other necessary things having been procured, a servant was engaged, and Miss Dales and she began housekeeping. She, of course, had a great deal to learn, how to sit, how to eat, how to handle her knife and fork, etc., and many an awkward thing happened before she got accustomed to Frank ways. Still, all things considered, it was wonderful how easily and naturally she moved about. Her health, however, gave way, and she was confined to bed a week with an attack of jaundice, and as she did not seem to regain her strength it was thought advisable that she go to Alexandria for a change of air. When the prince returned she had been in Alexandria (with her father) for about two weeks; so he also went to Alexandria and spent the six weeks required by law enjoying her society and studying Arabic. Her character developed amazingly fast after she got out of the narrow sphere to which she had hitherto been bound, and she very soon acquired a dignity and quiet, easy grace that well became her new position. She did not seem either to lose any of the graces of her Christian character, and the love which she showed for her Bible, and conversation on religious themes knit the heart of the prince every day in still closer affection for her.

At length, on the 7th of June, the marriage was celebrated, first by observing the legal formalities in the British consulate at 11 A.M., and religiously in the afternoon, the services being conducted by Mr. Hogg in the presence of the missionaries, the parents, and a few friends of the family, while the prince’s Hindustani servants, and a Mohammedan servant who had known Bamba from her childhood, gathered around the door to witness the celebration. After the marriage service the invited guests sat down to a repast of princely character and served in princely style given by the father. The dress of the bride was white moiré antique, trimmed with Brussels lace, and made in French style, with all the usual et cetera of bridal attire. The bridegroom wore a plain dress suit. Bamba was calm and self-possessed, and listened with marked attention to the address, while the prince was so nervous that, as he afterwards confessed, he knew little of what was said. After the sumptuous repast, and a little music and conversation, the bride and bridegroom took their leave of the company, and drove off to their home in Ramleh.

Two weeks after the wedding, they came up to Cairo, and we had the pleasure of seeing them every day for a fortnight. Bamba spent the greater part of the day in school, perfectly happy among her former companions, as if she were still one of them. The last Sabbath day they were with us we had the pleasure of sitting together with them at the Lord’s table. Before they left Cairo and Egypt, he [the Maharaja] presented the mission with £1,000 in Bamba’s name as a thank-offering to the Lord, and has also undertaken to give £500 to support two missionaries during the remainder of their lives.[17]

Below is the report that appeared in The Times of India of Calcutta on June 30, 1864:

The Marriage of Duleep Singh - The Marriage of the Maharajah Duleep Singh took place at the British Consulate, Alexandria, on the 7th June, in the presence of very few witnesses. The young lady who has now become the Maharanee is the daughter of an European merchant here. Her mother is an Abyssinian. She is between fifteen and sixteen years of age, of a slight but graceful figure, interesting rather than handsome, not tall, and in complexion lighter than her husband. She is a Christian, and was educated in the American Presbyterian Mission School at Cairo; and it was during a chance visit there, while on his way out to India, that the prince first saw his future bride, who was engaged as instructress at the school. Duleep Singh wore at the wedding European costume, excepting a red tarboosh. The bride’s dress was also European, of white moiré antique, a fichu point d’Alencon - short lace sleeves, orange blossoms in her dark hair, with, of course, the usual gauze veil. She wore but few jewels; a necklace of fine pearls and a bracelet set with diamonds were her only ornaments. The formula of the civil marriage at Her Britannic Majesty’s consulates in the Levant is very brief. Both parties declare that they know no lawful impediment to their union; then they declare that they mutually accept each other as husband and wife, and the civil ceremony is over. This formula was pronounced by the prince in English; the bride, in a low but musical voice, read it in Arabic (that being the only language with which she is acquainted,) and thus “Bamba Muller” became the “Maharanee.” She showed much self-possession throughout it all. A religious ceremony was performed by one of the American ministers at the house of the bride’s father; and the newly married pair retired to the prince’s house at Ramleh, a few miles from Alexandria.[18]

After the marriage festivities, the couple traveled to the prince’s homeland, but returned briefly to Egypt in 1865. They took another trip up the Nile, where the couple, according to at least one report, helped in the distribution of Christian literature at various villages. Following this visit the Maharaja allowed the boat, the Ibis, to be utilized by the mission for its continued work. In 1874 he legally gave it to the mission to help establish a fund for the newly proposed college in Asuit.[19]

This is the brief story of the whirlwind marriage of Bamba to the prince, like Cinderella to her prince. But the happy ever after was not to come to the new princess. The missionaries later wrote that her “life in England . . . then [had] some dark experiences, and the sunset hour.”[20] Poor Bamba did not take too easily to the highest circles of British social life (the prince being honored as second to the Royal Family). While at the same time, the prince’s game and shooting hobbies, and frivolous life took a lot of his time and finances away from his family. It was good that she was kept busy enough with her six children born during the first fifteen years of their union. The three boys and three girls were named Victor Albert Jay (born June 1866), Frederick Victor (born 1868), Bamba Sofia Jindan (born 1869), Catherine Hilda (born 1871), Sophia Alexandra (born 1876), and Edward Albert Alexander (born 1879).[21]

However, the newly wed couple brought in an unexpected relief for the young mission that they had left behind, during the time when the mission was in great need for funds to continue its work. The reason was “every remittance from America lost over sixty-four percent in transit owing to the exorbitant exchange rate the Civil War had brought in its train.”[22] As the missionaries would record, “just when the doors were opening in all directions inviting the occupation of the land for Christ and His kingdom, the Lord, in His wise and kind providence, brought about this union, and put into the treasury of the mission a sum sufficient to blot out the debt and provide the means for supporting two additional missionaries for an indefinite future.”[23]

The annual gift of £1,000 ($5,000) from the prince and Bamba, in remembrance of their wedding anniversary, was utilized for thirteen years (some recorded it as twelve years and some as fifteen). This enabled the mission to increase its staff and to occupy new centers. There is also the well-remembered gift of the houseboat Ibis in 1874 to the “fund for building and endowing Assuit Training College,” The Ibis provided many years of faithful service for the mission, and facilitated their work up and down the Nile.[24] The prince had bought the houseboat around ten years before and refitted it for comfort, for their usage in their personal missionary activities, such as distributing Bibles and propagating the Gospel to anyone who cared to listen along the Delta region.[25] This gesture from the prince was not only a financial gift to the mission, but for as long as the boat was used, the missionaries were assured that the prince still had an interest in Christianity. When the Ibis finally concluded its service to the mission at the end of the 1870s or the beginning of the 1880s, they knew that he had ultimately been influenced to reject Christianity and return to his ancestral Sikh religion [26] which Bamba had tried very hard to dissuade him from doing.[27]

Life for the family was tumultuous in the 1880s, especially the mid-1880s. Bamba was not of much help to the prince at those critical moments, because “she seemed to have turned in on herself and to be incapable of coping even with the simplest of problems.”[28] Then also due to the prince’s extravagant spending on his personal and social life, their finances were very tight. By formally setting himself as the Lawful Sovereign and Guru of the Sikh Nation, and the proud implacable foe of England, he alienated the British government and the India Office all the more. Ultimately, he abandoned his wife and children, and secured a mistress while living in France.[29] There were reports circulating among the officials of Queen Victoria about the situation of Bamba and her children during the year 1886.

The main problem was the younger children - Bamba had for some years been virtually an invalid and totally neglected their education; Oliphant had attributed what he called her “strange habits” to the fact that some eight years ago she had fallen on the ice; Kimberley had the story that “whether from despair or being neglected she had taken to drinking alcohol to an injurious extent.” But according to Dr. Lawson, of the American Mission in Cairo, who had come over to comfort his former charge, “there was nothing wrong with her at all.” Because of Bamba’s inability to cope with the situation Henniker undertook to become the children’s legal guardian, and Arthur Oliphant, son of the Maharajah’s late comptroller, took over the task of actually bringing them up . . . He moved them all to his house at Folkestone where he and his wife effectively became foster-parents to four confused young Indians. Oliphant recalled their old nanny, Miss Dale, who had left when Bamba became difficult . . . She would, it seemed, have a hard job ahead, for Oliphant reported that the girls, “did not know how to walk like young ladies” and “the poor Maharani was also going to give them lessons in calisthenics, and always going to take them to church, but these intentions, as indeed all others, were never carried out. [30]

Then on September 18, 1887, Queen Victoria received a telegram while staying at her home in Balmoral: “Regret inform you Maharani died of collapse suddenly this morning with renal complications following chill on Friday. Sir William Gull’s representative Dr. Acland was in attendance. Prince Victor is here. Mother unconscious twelve hours before death. Family wish buried at Elveden. Am arranging accordingly. Everything very quiet. Arthur Oliphant.” [31]

The prince telegraphed his eldest son, Victor, upon hearing the news: “Heart-broken - can’t realize - will write next week.”[32] Bamba fell asleep in Christ at the age of thirty-nine, after a wonderful life of devotion and faith, in spite of all that she went through and all her shortcomings. Mrs. Sarah Dales Lansing, who had been her spiritual mother and life-long friend, was at that time in England with Dr. Gulian Lansing, and was by her bedside when she breathed her last breath. Thus ends the life of Ezbekiah School’s most famous alumnus.[33] This author, however, believes that her faith was passed on to her six children and in the end brought back her erring husband to the right.

At the beginning of 1890, the prince had a stroke while he was alone in his small Parisian hotel room that resulted in his left side being paralyzed. This brought about a change in heart. On July 22, 1890, his former friend, Lord Leven, relayed the following after visiting him:

. . . He wished to be at peace with everybody, and repeatedly expressed the utmost contrition for all he had done. It seemed indeed as if his deep religious fervor (and in his youth he was the most truly conscientious boy I ever knew) had returned - and I trust it has. He spoke of the disgraceful way he had behaved towards Her Majesty, and told me he had written, or rather dictated, a letter, in the hope that she might graciously be pleased to forgive him - He also wrote an abject apology to the Prince of Wales . . . He expressed frequently his deep satisfaction to the Almighty for having struck him down, and thus brought him to a sense of his wrong doing . . . [34]

The following is the prince’s letter to Queen Victoria:

May it please Your Majesty, my son Victor is writing this letter from my dictation - I have been struck down by the hand of God and am in consequence quite unable to write myself - I have been disappointed in everyone in whom I had been led to believe and now my one desire is to die at peace with all men - I therefore pray Your Majesty to pardon me for all I have done against You and Your Government and I throw myself entirely on Your clemency.

It seems to me that it is the will of God that I should suffer injustice at the hands of Your people.

I can find no one to curse Great Britain and in spite of all her faults and her injustices God blesses her and makes her great and when I look at her, I feel that in fighting against Your country I have been fighting against God - I would return to England were I assured of Your free pardon. I am Your Majesty’s obedient servant . . . [35]

During that year, the prince remembered the mission again and provided £2,000 ($10,000), which Dr. Lansing suggested to be set aside as fund for the education of young men for the ministry. Then Dr. Harvey of the mission visited the prince in Paris, some months before his death,[36] and again he provided another £2,000s.[37] Lastly, the prince’s Parisian friend, Baron Texter de Ravisi, said that the former talked a lot about religion and the Bible and had “expressed his wish to die with his hand upon that Book.” [38]

The prince also expressed his desire to go alone to Egypt during the winter. No doubt he wished to make his peace again with the missionaries in Cairo, who must have felt uncomfortable at the outcome of a marriage they had encouraged. But death overtook him on the night of October 21, 1893 at the age of fifty-five. He had an apoplectic fit and died on the evening of the following day, never having regained consciousness. Queen Victoria was the first to hear the sad news because Lord Dufferin telegraphed her: “The Maharajah Duleep Singh has died here suddenly in the absence of any of his family who will not arrive till this evening - I have recommended to sanction the body being embalmed.” [39]

Six of Maharajah Duleep Singh’s children by Maharani Bamba survived them. The eldest, Victor Albert Jay (b.1866) who became a debt ridden possessive gambler, married Lady Anne Coventry in 1892, and died without any children in 1918 at age fifty-two.[40]

Frederick Victor (b.1868) who was a Jacobite [Syrian Orthodox] by sympathy, received an M.A. degree in History at Cambridge. He became an antiquarian, an archaeologist, a local historian, a generous benefactor of East Anglia worthies, and a popular Norfolk squire. He acquired and lived in the beautiful 16th century moated manor house of Blo Norton Hall from 1906 onward. He died unmarried on August 15, 1926 at age fifty-eight.[41]

Bamba Sofia Jindan (b.1869) was the most colorful character among the children. She was a rebel like her father and began fashioning herself as the “Queen of the Punjab.” She married Dr. Colonel Sutherland, who became principal at King Edward’s Medical College, Lahore, and finally settled in Lahore as a permanent resident. The longest living member of this family, she died without issue on May 10, 1957 at age eighty-eight, and was buried in the Christian Cemetery in Lahore.[42]

Catherine Hilda (b.1871) was ranked as one of the most beautiful European princesses but did not marry. She was very secretive and spent most of her time in Germany with her governess Lina Schafer. She probably died around 1935 at the age of sixty-four, with a will, and leaving a mysterious Swiss bank account unclaimed.[43]

Sophia Alexandra (b.1876) was a firebrand like her father and became a leading figure fighting for the voting rights of women in England. She died in 1948 at the age of seventy-two, without issue.[44]

Edward Albert Alexander (b.1879) died in early May 1893 (the same year his father died) of pleura-pneumonia at the age of thirteen.

In addition to the children of Bamba, the Maharaja had two daughters by a second wife (who had been his mistress during his first marriage to Bamba). However, the latter’s children died without any heirs as well. Therefore the line of the Maharajah Duleep Singh ended almost a century after the famous romance of the American Mission in Egypt, begun in 1864.

Esther Pan and Medhat Said


  1. Michael Alexander and Sushila Anand, Queen Victoria’s Maharajah Duleep Singh: 1838 - 93 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980), 100.

  2. Al-Ahram Weekly, issue No. 475, 30 March - 5 April 2000 (online:

  3. Rena L. Hogg, A Master-Builder on the Nile: Being a Record of the Life and Aims of John Hogg, D.D.: Christian Missionary (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1914), 112 - 113.

  4. Andrew Watson, D.D., The American Mission in Egypt: 1854 to 1896 (Pittsburgh: United Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1904), 159.

  5. Hogg, 115 - 116.

  6. “Duleep Singh,” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia (online:

  7. A. Watson, 163.

  8. Ibid., 164.

  9. Hogg, 117.

  10. A. Watson, 164.

  11. Ibid., 165.

  12. Ibid.

  13. Ibid.

  14. Hogg, 117.

  15. A. Watson, 167 - 169.

  16. Ibid., 169.

  17. Ibid., 170 - 172.

  18. Alexander, 105 - 106.

  19. Al-Ahram.

  20. Charles R. Watson, In the Valley of the Nile: A Survey of the Missionary Movement in Egypt (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1908), 146.

  21. Ibid., 114.

  22. Hogg, 120.

  23. A. Watson, 172.

  24. Charles R. Watson, Egypt and the Christian Crusade (Philadelphia: The Board of Foreign Missions of the United Presbyterian Church of North America, 1907), 221; S. Ewing, D.D., Annual Report, 1905.

  25. Alexander, 109.

  26. A. Watson, 468.

  27. Alexander, 182.

  28. Ibid., 187.

  29. Ibid., 251.

  30. Ibid., 249 - 250; Royal Archives Victorian additional manuscripts N2/363, Ponsonby Memo, July 3, 1886; Royal Archives Victorian additional manuscripts N2/369, Kimberley to Ponsonby, July 7, 1886; Royal Archives Victorian additional manuscripts N2/428, Oliphant to Ponsonby, Oct. 3, 1886.

  31. Ibid., 265 - 266; Royal Archives Victorian additional manuscripts N2/428, Oliphant to Ponsonby, 18 Sept. 1887.

  32. Ibid., 266; Telegram, Duleep Singh to Prince Victor Duleep Singh, undated.

  33. Elizabeth Kelsey Kinnear, She Sat Where They Sat (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdsmans Publishing Company, 1971), 43.

  34. Alexander., 287; Royal Archives Victorian additional manuscripts N2/532, Leven to Ponsonby, 22 July 1890.

  35. Ibid., 288; Royal Archives O10/94, Duleep Singh to Queen Victoria, July 18, 1890.

  36. A. Watson, 468.

  37. C. Watson, 146.

  38. Alexander, 297 - 298; Royal Archives J89/25, Dufferin to Queen Victoria, Oct. 15, 1893.

  39. Ibid., 298 - 299; Royal Archives O10/116, Dufferin to Rosebery. Telegram, Oct. 23, 1893.

  40. “Maharajah Duleep Singh,” The Official Site (Online: [Cited 12/8/2005].

  41. “Maharajah Duleep Singh,” Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service (Online: [Cited 12/8/2005].

  42. Book review on The Duleep Singh’s Photograph Album of Queen Victoria’s Maharaja, Quarterly, No. 19 (February 2005) (Online: [Cited 12/8/2005].

  43. 2001 Lecture series on the book, The Maharaja’s Box, Sikhs and Arts of the Panjab in the Asian Collections at the V and A (Online: [12/8/2005].

  44. Book review on The Duleep Singh’s Photograph Album of Queen Victoria’s Maharaja in Quarterly No. 19 (February 2005).

This story, received in 2006, was researched and written by Esther Pan and Medhat Said, students in the M.A.T.S. Program at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo as a requirement for a class on Middle East Christianity (III) under the supervision of Dr. David Grafton, DACB liaison coordinator.