I haven’t decided what I’ll spend it on’: The princess who has just become India’s newest BILLIONAIRE at the age of 80 after winning 24 year battle for Maharajah father's fortune
- After he died, the maharajah's daughters received a pittance, despite fortune
- A disputed will left the estate in control of his former servants
- Now the daughters, who are in their 80s, have finally won their birthright
This is the Indian princess who became a billionaire overnight when a court ruled the will that deprived her of her Maharajah father's fortune was a fake.
Amrit Kaur, 80, the eldest daughter of the late Maharajah of Faridkot, was cut off without a penny when a will leaving her father's £2.6billion estate to a small group of her father's advisers was made public in the wake of his death in 1989.
More than 20 years on Ms Kaur said he had always been confident the court would rule in favour of herself and her sisters - but admitted she hadn't thought about how she would spend her new riches.
Billionaire: Amrit Kaur, seen left with her father in India as a young woman, and right today holding a portrait of the late Maharajah of Faridkot, said she knew from 'day one' the court would rule in her favour
'I will think about it when I get the money,' Ms Kaur told the economictimes.com.
Despite having endured a two-decade legal battle over her father's fleet of properties, luxury cars and millions in gold and jewels, the grandmother said she knew from 'day one' the case would go her way.
'My father was a very loving and caring man towards all of us,' she said.
'I knew he could never write such a foolish will.'
Her long-held belief was finally vindicated by the court in the northwestern city of Chandigarh on Saturday, as it ruled the late Maharajah's 200-billion-rupee estate should go to his daughters, as opposed to the trust run by his servants and palace officials named in the suspect will.
Long battle: Ms Kaur smiles for the camera with her daughter Gurveen at her home in Chandigarh today, after a court ruled the former Maharajah's daughters should inherit his estate
'Loving and caring': Amrit, seen left as a little girl, has said she knew her father, right, could never have written such a 'foolish' will
Chief judicial magistrate Rajnish Kumar Sharma, in the northern city of Chandigarh, finally gave his ruling on the case filed by the maharaja's eldest daughter, Amrit Kaur, in 1992, a court official said Monday.
The court official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The Faridkot riches were legend in India's Punjab state. The estate includes a 350-year-old fort, palaces and forests lands in Faridkot, a mansion surrounded by acres of land in the heart of India's capital New Delhi and similar properties spread across four states.
Determined: Amrit Kaur filed a court action in 1992 calling the will made public after her father's death into question
Reminiscing: Ms Kaur looks on as her daughter Gurveen and lawyer Manjit Singh Khaira leaf through old photograph albums filled with pictures of her late father
There is also a stable of 18 cars including a Rolls Royce, a Daimler and a Bentley, all in running condition.
In addition, there is an aerodrome in Faridkot, spread over 200 acres, which is being used by the Punjab state administration and the army.
There is also more than 10billion rupees (£110million) worth of gold, jewelry studded with diamonds, rubies and emeralds.
The royal's two daughters will now inherit a vast fortune, including Faridkot House on Copernicus Marg in New Delhi
The Faridkot House complex in New Delhi on the day the court ruled that the daughters of a late maharajah should inherit his estate
Brar himself was a boy-king who grew up amid the final gasps of India's royal families. He was crowned maharajah of the tiny kingdom of Faridkot in western Punjab - the last maharajah it would turn out - at the age of three, upon his father's death.
After India won independence from Britain in 1947, Faridkot and hundreds of other small kingdoms were absorbed into the country, royal titles and power were abolished and the royal families were given a fixed salary from the Indian government. That payment, the 'privy purse', was abolished in 1971.
Riches: Brar, left, and his wife, Maharani Narinder Kaur, right, liked to stay at the luxury Savoy hotel while shopping in London during holidays to England
Some royals slipped into penury, while some converted their former palaces into luxury hotels to provide them an income.
A few, like Brar, held onto their enormously profitable real estate and continued to live a rarefied life.
But in 1981, Brar's only son, Tikka Harmohinder Singh, was killed in a road accident and he tumbled into a deep depression. It was then, his three daughters' argued, that his trusted aides connived to deprive his family of their fortune.
They set up the Meharawal Khewaji Trust, naming all the maharajah's servants, officials and lawyers as trustees.
A short time after Brar's death in 1989, a will leaving all his wealth to the trust became public. The two younger princesses, Deepinder Kaur and Maheepinder Kaur, were given monthly salaries of $20 and $18 respectively.
Brar's wife, mother and oldest daughter - the presumed heir - were cut off without a penny.
The trust told the court that Amrit Kaur had been shunned by her father for marrying against his wishes.
Kaur told the court that her father had never made a will and that she had remained with him until his death.
In the two decades that it has taken for the court to give its ruling, much has changed. The value of the estates has increased manifold.
The New Delhi properties alone are worth about £230million. One of his daughters, Maheepinder Kaur, died. Amrit and Deepinder are in their 80s.
The family's lawyer, Vikas Jain, told India's Financial Express newspaper that some of the fortune had been squandered away during the long case.
The trust is weighing a challenge to the Chandigarh court order in a higher court, news reports said Monday.
'The will was real and it was not forged. The trust, after going through the order in detail, could challenge it in an upper court,' Ranjit Singh, a lawyer for the trust, was quoted as telling The Times of India newspaper.
Riches: As well as property, the estate has luxury cars and jewels
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