Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil recently received a car from his dad, a surprise that was the first expensive gift he's ever received from the king.
Times have changed for Indian royals.
Gohil is openly gay and his parents had disowned him upon hearing the news of his coming-out, and neighbors burned him in effigy in the streets.
"I am enjoying life to the maximum possible," Gohil said in an email interview. He is still "fighting the religious leaders in the Supreme Court and waiting for the final judgment," regarding gay rights. Gohil is, admittedly, "single and ready to mingle."
Gohil arrives in Chicago Friday, May 3, and will be staying in town for five nights, with a TV appearance Monday, May 6, on the WGN Midday Show, among other events.
"Things are pretty good back home, busy with life as usual," said Gohil, 47, who admitted it is "very difficult to find a selfless person to date."
So who is Mr. Right for Mr. Royalty?
"I prefer brains over beauty," he said.
Gohil, who said Indian classical music is a hobby of his, is learning to play a harmonium. He is also an organic farmer and yoga teacher.
"I have to maintain a balance between my royal lifestyle versus my gay lifestyle, which is very challenging," he said. "When I am fulfilling my royal duties, I have to forget I am gay, and vice versa. It's easy to say, but difficult in practice."
Gohil said he has always loved visiting Chicago, and that the goal for this trip is "networking and coming together as one family to fight gay rights and prevent [the further] spread of HIV."
As for the city itself, Gohil said he enjoys the "architectural marvels of the skyscrapers." And yes, he does plan to visit Boystown, "of course."
"I am just a human being who has committed one's life toward the goal of 'Free Gay India' and fighting the hypocrites of the society," Gohil said. "Being gay in India is always attached with stigma and discrimination."
Still, Gohil is developing a retirement home for gays, which will be one of the first of its kind in Asia, he said.
Gohil in 2000 started Lakshya Trust, which he is now the chairman, an organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS education and prevention for gay and bisexual men. "Lakshya is expanding its activities. It has started mentoring and nurturing new groups and preparing second leadership and aiming toward self-sustainability," he said.
Gohil also has a new 501(c)(3) charity, Ekta Transglobal Foundation, and will be hosting a private fundraiser for it at the home of Jay Paul Deratany while in Chicago. For more information about the Prince's work with his global mission, go to www.EktaTransglobal.org .
The event is Saturday, May 4. Email info@EktaTransglobal.org .