Princely India - Maharaja of Rajpipla Presentation Vesta Case, 1934
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6.3cm (2.4in) x 4.5cm (1.7in)
Silver, gold and guilloché enamel. Rectangular case with engine turned decoration, the hinged front applied with the crowned V cypher of His Highness Maharana Shri Sir Vijaysinhji Chhatrasinhji Sahib, last Maharaja of Rajpipla and the 36th and last ruler of the 600 year old Gohil Rajput dynasty; push catch fastener, the interior inscribed, ‘WINDSOR LAD / DERBY 1934’, commemorating the the Maharaja’s blue riband win. Hallmarked 1933.
A delighted Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla with Windsor Lad after winning the Epsom Derby in 1934.
Sir Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla KCSI, GBE (1890-1951), aka ‘Mr Pip’, was a well known in racing circles and to the wider public as the owner of the 1934 Epsom Derby and St Leger winner Windsor Lad (1931-43). Born at Chatravilas Palace, Nandod, he was educated at Rajkumar College, Rajkot, where he became head boy in 1908. He succeeded his father as Maharaja of Rajpipla state in 1915. He was knighted Knight Commander Star of India in the New Year Honours list of 1925 and a GBE (Knight Grand Cross of the British Empire) in 1945. As a youth he served in the Imperial Cadet Corps at Dehra Dun, and in 1919 became an Honorary Captain in the 27th Light Cavalry, Indian Army (16th Light Cavalry from 1922). A social reformer, he worked to modernise his state and became a leading member of the Chamber of Princes until Rajpipla merged with the Indian Union in 1948. In his heyday he fielded a royal polo team comprising himself and his three sons. ‘Mr Pip’ moved with ease in European society and was befriended by British royals and the Bond author Ian Fleming. After the loss of his state he settled permanently at his English home, The Manor at Old Windsor, where he died in 1951.