In the spring of 1906, the marriage of King Alfonso XII of Spain, and Princess Victoria Eugenie, granddaughter of Queen Victoria was shaken by unusual events – an assassination attempt and a love affair between an Indian Prince and a Flamenco Dancer. 

On March 31, 1906, in Madrid, as the newly married king and queen of Spain headed for the Royal palace, a young man stood on a hotel balcony patiently waiting to make his move. As soon as the procession approached, he hurled a bomb at the newlyweds.

The perpetrator, Mateo Morral, was an anarchist and close confidante of radical freethinker Francesc Ferrer and although the King and Queen had escaped relatively unscathed the bomb killed almost 30 people and injured hundreds. Morral later killed himself fleeing Madrid

The attempt was a violent end to a rather extravagant event, the couple met during the King’s state visit to the UK and although Alfonso’s mother was initially opposed to the union due to Victoria’s religion, it didn’t last long.

Many foreign dignitaries were invited to the king’s wedding in Madrid. Here things get interesting. One of the foreign dignitaries was Maharaja Sir Jagatjit Singh Sahib Bahadur, the ruler of the princely state of Kapurthala, in India.

Once at night the king went to a café in Madrid, where he saw a beautiful Spanish flamenco dancer named Ana María Delgado. It was love at first sight for the king, who sought the 16-year-old Delgado with all his charms, but the young girl was not easily seduced

While King Alfonso’s marriage was the talk of the town, the alleged affair between an Indian prince and a flamenco dancer created sensational buzz. Although Delgado initially had reservations, she relented eventually.

After the Morral incident, Jagatjit Singh had to move to Paris where he arranged to bring Delgado also. Anita, as she was also called, moved to Paris, got a complete makeover & learned the ways of high society, while the King showered her with lavish clothes and jewelry.

The couple got married in a civil ceremony in Paris and then moved to India, where they remarried under Sikh rites after which she became known as Rani Prem Kaur Sahiba. It is said that the king gave her a precious moon-shaped emerald when she learned Urdu.

However, the marriage didn’t last long and the couple got divorced in 1925, Anita moved back to Paris and was paid a monthly allowance and was allowed to keep her titles, she never returned to India or remarried.

Some of her jewels reportedly sank en route to France while others found their way into the Al Thani collection on display at the Hôtel de la Marine at Place de la Concorde, in Paris.


Image Attributes: Maharaja Jagatijt Singh, from @WikiCommons; Maharani Prem Kaur (Anita Delgado), from @WikiCommons; Anarchist attack on the King of Spain Alfonso XIII, from @WikiCommons; Portrait of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, from @WikiCommons