Apr 15, 2024, 01:13 PM IST

Meet first Indian king to marry a foreign woman

Shivam Verma

Martanda Bhairava Tondaiman was the ruler of the princely state of Pudukkottai from 15 April 1886 to 28 May 1928.

He was educated in private by Fredric Feilden Crossley, a Cambridge alumnus, and excelled in sports and developed a liking for European culture and manners.

Martanda travelled to Australia in 1915 and met Australian socialite Molly Fink in Melbourne.

In August 1915, Martanda proposed to Molly, and they were married on 10 August 1915 at the Regsitrar's Office in Melbourne. According to some media reports, he was the first Indian king to marry a foreign woman.

A son named, Martanda Sydney Tondaiman, was born to them on July 22 1916.

Meanwhile, the British authorities in India were hostile to their marriage. They refused to recognise Molly Fink as Martanda's wife and accord her the privileges due to a "Maharani."

In 1921, Martanda formally gave up his claim to the throne of Pudukkottai and settled down in France with Molly.