INDIAN Royal families today might have lost their political relevance, but they continue to capture the imagination of the world with their billion-dollar lifestyle.
The glamorous lives of these last-remaining Maharajas transcend the boundary of time, and the essence of extravagance is like fairy tales in modern times.
Hundreds of royal families were stripped of their princely rights when the monarchy was abolished in India.
A few, however, still carry honorary titles as they live their lives king-size.
Despite their derecognition, these modern-day royals continue to influence India’s rich culture and put the country’s name on the world stage.
Since the royal families in India do not have a kingdom to run, most of them have carved a niche as hoteliers, politicians, and philanthropists – even athletes.
But what they share in common is a love for rich heritage, lavish palaces, and a billion-dollar lifestyle.
Here, we take a closer look inside the lives of the last-remaining royal families in India
The Mewar Dynasty
Once led by the great king Maharana Pratap, the Mewar Dynasty is perhaps one of the most prolific royal families in India.
Today, the descendants of this dynasty live in Udaipur.
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At the head of this family is His Royal Highness Arvind Singh Mewar – the 76th custodian of the house of Mewar.
Acting as the nominal monarch, Arvind Singh lives with his wife in the great Udaipur City Palace – a part of which is open for tourists to visit and see the historic architecture.
He also has given some of the most iconic palaces that belong to his royal family on lease to the famous Taj Group of Hotels to manage.
Maharaja Arvind is known for his museum of antique cars and likes to manage his father’s million-dollar crystal collection.
Nawab of Pataudi
The Nawab of Pataudi is the most famous royal family in India today – because of the family's connection to Bollywood and the Indian cricket team
Legendary actor Saif Ali Khan is the son of the last emperor, and serves as the current Nawab of the kingdom.
His father, His Royal Highness Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, was the captain of the Indian cricket team and served as the last titular head of the kingdom.
Mansoor Ali Khan married actress Sharmila Tagore and had three children – Saif being one of them.
The royal family is known for the mega-famous Pataudi Palace – their ancestral home – which is worth more than Rupees 800 crore
The Royal Family of Jaipur
The Royal Family of Jaipur was headed by the last titular head of state His Highness Bhawani Singh.
In 2011, Maharaj Padmanabh, grandson of Bhawani Singh, became the Maharaja of Jaipur.
Today, the head of the Royal Family of Jaipur is a fashion icon, and no less than an international celebrity.
Padmanabh walkedthe runway at the Dolce & Gabbana show during Milan Men’s Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019
He is also a national-level polo player and is recognised for his work to bring more awareness to the sport today.
The royal family owns the magnificent Rambagh Palace – and has leased it to the Taj Hotel Group to manage.
The Wadiyar Dynasty
Back in the day, the Wadiyar Dynasty ruled the iconic Kingdom of Mysore.
Their history can be traced back to the Yaduvanshi clan of Lord Krishna in ancient times.
The royal family is famous for a 400-year-old curse put on them that does not let them have children.
The curse, put by Queen Alamelamma of Vijaynagar for capturing the throne, has been in power over the years and still continues to affect the royal family.
Currently, the head of the dynasty is 27-year-old Yaduveer Krishnadutta Chamaraj Wadiyar.
However, he was not the direct heir to the throne as his predecessor died childless.
He tied the knot to the Princess of Dungarpur in 2016 – and is rumoured to own assets over Rupees 10,000 Crore.
Bourbons of India
The most interesting royal family of all – The Bourbons of India are known for their alleged claim over the defunct throne of the Kingdom of France.
It is claimed that this family is a direct descendant of the House of Bourbon, descended from Jean Philippe de Bourbon.
Jean Phillipe was an exiled French noble who served in Mughal Emperor Akbar's court and was considered to be a nephew of the French king Henry IV.
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If true, Balthazar Bourbon – head of the Indian royal family, would be first in line to the French throne.
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