Fashion

Meet our digital cover star, His Highness Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh

The royal charmer is just a 20-year-old

Padmanabh Singh is born with the kind of preternatural grace that only comes from gold-plated pedigree, and is increasingly rare to see in this age of Instagram royalty. Pacho, as he is fondly called by his family and friends, was given the moniker by his grandmother, Maharani Padmini Devi, when he was a baby.

Singh in Raghavendra Rathor

Cotton shirt, Singh's own. Cotton jacket, Rs 68,999, Raghavendra Rathore. Silk pocket square, Rs 8,500, Canali

The 20-year-old is the 303rd descendant of the royal family of Jaipur. In modern parlance, he is fortune’s child. But like a true-blood millennial, he is using his inheritance to his advantage.

Pacho

Wool-blend turtleneck, Singh's own. Wool linen jacket and pants (set); both Rs 25,000, Raymond

A glimpse of the past year saw him traipsing from his gilded palace in Jaipur, to the runway of Dolce&Gabbana (he does enjoy fashion, and has an intuitive sartorial style that is elegant way beyond his years), interspersed with hiking around the mountains of Machu Picchu. He capped it all off with a summer blow out birthday in a candlelit Roman castle in the Italian capital with an enviable coterie of the gypset. It’s not that he is affected by the drama and pomp that surrounds him—he is aware of his presence in the midst of it all. But he is still a 20-year-old excited and nervous about finding his place in a world he is happy to engage with in the best possible way.

Singh in Jimmy choo

Cotton shirt, Singh's own. Wool pants, cashmere coat; both prices on request, Corneliani. Patent leather shoes, price on request, Jimmy Choo

Pacho’s love for polo runs in his genes. His great-grandfather, Sawai Man Singh II, won the first Polo World Cup for India in France in 1957. At 18, Pacho was the youngest player to represent India, and is the youngest Indian member of a World Cup polo team, as well as the youngest winner of the Indian Open Polo Cup. “I was so proud to play for India, and have the flag on my back,” says Pacho, who doesn’t miss a day of training and is disciplined to a fault. After all, it was his love for the game that brought him back from New York University, where he was enrolled to study liberal arts.

Singh in calvin klein

Cotton shirt, jeans, velvet shoes; all Singh's own. Denim jacket, Rs 12,999, Calvin Klein Jeans

Now, he’s off to Rome to study history in art — largely because it’s closer to home and he can play polo there. Pacho represents the modern-day ideal of Camelot. His story bears testament to the fact that you may be born into privilege, but you need the audacity to make it matter.

Padmanabh in salvatore ferragamo

Wool sweater, Rs 59,000, Salvatore Ferragamo. Wool-blend pants, price on request, Michael Kors Collection. Leather shoes, Singh's own. Leather strap watch, Rs 1,13,200, Logines

Photographs: Bikramjit Bose

Styling: Malini Banerji

Assisted by: Divya Gursahani and Pujarini Ghosh (styling)

Location courtesy: The City Palace, Jaipur