The Maharaja’s Style
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, who stayed at the Bristol in Vienna in 1928, was accompanied by the youngest of his five wives and his five daughters and his entourage. He had reserved almost a whole floor of the hotel, one of the best in the world. The Maharani and the young ladies enjoyed shopping, the chief purchases being leather goods, articles of the toilet, mantles and various filed and opera glasses.
The retinue of the maharaja consisted of the following persons: Rani Singh Ticca, major, Patiala’s minister of agriculture, colonel Sampat Singh II, warminister; Bhela Singh Mehar, servant; both the court phisician Dr. Charles d. Fox, and colonel Charles W. Bowles, were Englishmen. The only company for the ladies was the lady in waiting, Devi Kansalpa.
An epicure from top to toe, he was so impressed by the service at the Bristol that he, when he left by train to Budapest, expressed the wish that the head cook and attendants at tables should accompany him on the journey to cook and to serve in his dining car.
Immediately on his arrival in Budapest, he had a telegram sent to the board of the Hotel Bristol, desiring that these attendants should be left at his disposal also for his further journey to Munich and Lucerne. Needless to say the wishes of this honoured guest were complied with.
More than once Bhupindar Singh remarked that he had the feeling of being, not in a dining car but in the Hotel Bristol. So splendidly had the attendants provided for him. And indeed it required simply a marvellous care and aptitude to bring about this illusion and to prepare the food for 13 guests and their five companions in sufficient quantity and of Hotel Bristol quality, on the small gas stove of the dining car. Such a feat was a masterpiece of the cooking staff.
The conversation at table was always carried on in English ... classical English. Though always high-bred and concious of his dignity, he behave towards the princesses as the gentlest and most loving of fathers whose every aim and object is for his children. He never allowed – as is often the case with royal personages – himslef to be served first and only then the ladies. He epxressed wish that the maharani should be served first, then the princesses and only then himsself. Conversation was only started by himslef. It never happens that any of those in his presence address the first word to the maharajah.
Sources: Hotel Bristol Vienna, by Andreas Augustin
Wikipedia: The Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala