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Prince’s birthday to be commemorated

Prince Frederick Duleep Singh
Prince Frederick Duleep Singh

A Thetford museum and hotel are set to celebrate Prince Frederick Duleep Singh’s 150th birthday this weekend.

The Ancient House Museum, in Whitehart Street, will host a free event between 10am and 4pm on Saturday where visitors will get to find out about the prince’s life.

Part of the Duleep Singh display at the Ancient House Museum in Thetford
Part of the Duleep Singh display at the Ancient House Museum in Thetford

Costumed characters including a solider from the Anglo-Sikh Wars, servants at Elveden Hall, where he once lived, and a First World War solider will be there to bring the history to life and a family trail will highlight artefacts donated by Prince Frederick with curator Oliver Bone on hand to answer questions about his legacy.

In 1921, the prince bought the museum and gave it to the town, as well as paying for its restoration, he also donated paintings and artefacts which are still on display today.

Curatorial trainee Sam Bellotti said: “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to say thank you to Prince Frederick and also explore the story of his wider family.

“We are hosting a pop-up display about his father, Maharajah Duleep Singh, and we will also have a costumed suffragette character talking about Prince Frederick’s sisters and their links to the suffrage movement. This is particularly relevant as 2018 is the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which enabled all men and some women over the age of 30 to vote for the first time.”

In the evening, the Thomas Paine Hotel will host a dinner and quiz in Prince Frederick’s honour.

The quiz has been devised by Peter Bance, Sikh historian who wrote Maharajah: Sovereign, Squire, Rebel and was a consultant on The Black Prince movie released in 2017.

The dinner includes a guided tour of the museum and an opportunity to win wonderful prizes including a signed copy of Mr Bance’s book and a luxury afternoon tea for two.

To find out more about the Ancient House Museum, go to www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/ancient-house or for more details on the dinner and quiz go to www.thethomaspainehotel.co.uk or call 01842 750372.

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