Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, an American member of the British royal family and a former actress for the first time since severing relations with the royal family, revealed how she was a victim of targeted racism at Buckingham Palace in a candid interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
She also disclosed that the royal family was worried about the skin colour of her then-unborn son Archie, owing to her status as a "woman of colour."
However, the Duchess of Sussex isn't the first 'Royal of colour' at the Buckingham Palace, reports The Quint.
There once lived an honorary princess of colour from the Kingdom of Coorg in India, but little is known about her tragic fate at the hands of the British monarchy.
Victoria Gouramma, the forgotten princess of Coorg, is the subject of this tale. The First Indian Royal to be Christened, Baptised at Buckingham Palace
The Journey from Benaras to Britain
It was the year 1834. The South Indian Kingdom of Coorg was annexed on April 24th, following a brief but bloody war with the East India Company, and the empire's last king, Raja Chikka Virarajendra, was defeated, dethroned, and deported to Benaras (now Varanasi).
The exiled Raja Virarajendra sailed to London in March 1852 with two goals in mind, thanks to the assistance of British doctor and good friend Dr William Jefferson.
The intentions were to demand that the British government in India return his ancestral wealth, and to give his daughter, Princess Gouramma, 11 years old, for adoption to Queen Victoria in the hopes of securing her future.
And Princess Gouramma's Fate was Sealed...
When the 11-year-old princess arrived in London, Queen Victoria lavished royal treatment on the father-daughter pair. She decided to be Gouramma's godmother without hesitation, even giving her her own name.
They were the first Indian royals to travel to the United Kingdom. On 5 July 1852, she became the first Indian princess to convert to Christianity and be baptized 'Victoria' by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Buckingham Palace. Gouramma was also one of the first members of the royal family to be a "person of colour."
The Transition to 'Princess Victoria Gouramma' Was Quick
But a Journey Long and Tough...
Mrs. and Major Drummond, an Indian army couple who taught her to read and write and groomed her into Western ideas and values, were the first to look after Princess Victoria. Soon enough, the move from foster family to the family came about.
She wasn't shy, according to sources. She was often seen drinking and dancing with Englishmen at royal balls. With her life being chronicled in the papers, it was only natural that it drew attention.
She lived a regal life with the British royal family at Buckingham Palace as an honorary princess. But she was misled, misunderstood, lost, and lonely deep down.
She began to feel sick at the same time. Her health reportedly deteriorated as she coughed blood on a regular basis.
The Other 'Royals of Colour'
Gouramma wasn't the only one. To project a benevolent picture of her dynasty, Queen Victoria was known to adopt many young royals – several of whom were 'persons of colour' from around the British empire – as wards and godchildren. Maharaja Duleep Singh and Sarah Bonetta Forbes, the other 'royals of colour' at Buckingham Palace, were among them.
A Failed Match and a Troubled Marriage...
At the age of 15, Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last king of the Sikh empire, was defeated, christened, and exiled to London, where he was quickly adopted by Queen Victoria. Later, he was called the 'Black' Prince of Perthshire.
The Queen, along with the rest of the royal family, attempted to play cupid and marry him to Gouramma.
According to CP Belliappa's book "Victoria Gowramma: The Lost Princess of Coorg," the Queen believed that by marrying Princess Victoria to his beloved ward Maharaja Duleep, she could promote the spread of Christianity in India.
Unfortunately, there was no spark between Gouramma and Duleep Singh when they were launched. They didn't think each other was right for each other, but they remained friends throughout. Gouramma was apparently treated by the deposed Maharaja as an "honorary sister" rather than a future wife.
In 1860, Gouramma, a 19-year-old girl, fell for and married army colonel John Campbell, a 50-year-old man. The next year, Gouramma gave birth to her daughter Edith. But she soon discovered that her husband was a gambler who only cared about her money.
Misunderstood, Betrayed and Lonely
Dr Priya Atwal, a historian, illustrated Gouramma's plight at Buckingham Palace in a series of tweets.
"Becoming Victoria's namesake placed a massive burden on Gouramma's shoulders," Dr Atwal wrote for The Quint. Similarly to Meghan's early days in the UK, Gouramma struggled with the cultural shock and emotional struggles that came with being an immigrant from another country and a close associate of the royal family."
Given their position as "royals," the Queen's godchildren were shunned and regarded as "radicalised others." According to reports, Gouramma has been barred from seeing her father and family.
An 'Honorary' Princess Gone Too Soon...
Gouramma yearned for love, a family, and a place she could call home. She desired a life of solitude and self-sufficiency. She, on the other hand, became a lonely adolescent.
Her husband had abandoned her. She rapidly became trapped in a loveless marriage. He vanished with her jewels and fortune in March 1864, just months before her 23rd birthday, when an ailing Princess Victoria Gouramma succumbed to tuberculosis.