Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr
When pickpocket Danny accidentally bids for Maharajah the elephant at an Edinburgh auction, he's swept up on an unforgettable journey. His new employer, a zookeeper, transforms Danny into a bejewelled Indian prince. As he rides Maharajah from Scotland to his new home in England, even Queen Victoria follows their journey with delight.
But a rival zookeeper wagers on their failure, and soon Danny's shady connections threaten to overturn the mission ...