In the once-upon-a-time stories, everyone lives happily ever after. In real life, they squabble hereafter. With the mourning period for Gayatri Devi, the former Rajmata (queen mother) of Jaipur, drawing to an end today, the suspense thickens in Jaipur about her will.
The same that is the key to three palaces (Lilypool, Takhte Shahi Palace and Jai Mahal), a share in Rambagh Palace, two schools (SMS and MGD), a bungalow in England and some property in Isarda (south east of Jaipur), valued conservatively at Rs. 1,850 crore, not counting jewellery worth at least Rs. 300 crore. Local folklore, however, places the value of the Jaipur jewels at more than $1 billion (Rs 4,800 crore). Gayatri Devi’s share in this cache is not clear.
Sources, however, say that there is a slim possibility that to avoid any kind of litigation, the contents of the will might be withheld for some more time. They also say that one or the other member of the former royal family will inevitably go to court following the reading of the will.
Meanwhile, the presence of Priyanandana Rangsit — ex-wife of Gayatri Devi’s son the late Jagat Singh — in the city has given the rumour mills an extra twirl.
After the death of Jagat in London in 1992, all was not well between the grandmother and the grandchildren — Devraj and Lalitya (children of Jagat and Priyanandana) — and it is believed a patch-up happened as recently as three months ago. In the circumstances, it is not entirely improbable that the two grandchildren may turn out to be the main beneficiaries of the much-awaited will.
It is an open secret that Devraj (Jagat’s son) shares cordial relations with Brig. Bhawani Singh and his family. And if the need arises, they will support Devraj in his fight against Jai Singh and Prithviraj (Gayatri Devi’s stepsons) in case they stake claims to the property.