Heritage

New Movie Depicts Queen Victoria's Unlikely Friendship with Royal Servant Abdul Karim

Queen Victoria became dependent on Abdul, who evolved to become her teacher and adviser.
IMAGE Screenshot from Youtube / Focus Features
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Queen Victoria defied expectations. She was frank, stubborn, and far from mild-mannered. She didn’t settle for how things were. She became the first monarch to regularly interact with the public through civic engagements. In her late years, she became friends with people of lower rank. One of them was John Brown, a servant in her Scotland castle. Newspapers gave her the disparaging nickname Mrs. Brown, which was to be the title of the 1997 movie starring Judi Dench as Queen Victoria.

After Brown’s death, she made another unlikely friend. During her jubilee celebration in 1887, the queen met Abdul Karim, a young Indian man sent to England to be her attendant. They became close. The next year she would give him a position in court. He taught the queen Urdu and Indian culture. The irony: Victoria was the empress of India and had never been to India.

The new movie Victoria and Abdul appears to be a light-hearted and humorous take on this friendship of 15 years. But nothing unlikely in the casting department. Judi Dench returns as Queen Victoria, complete with the defiant punch lines.

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Victoria and Abdul will be released on September 22, 2017.

h/t BBC News and BBC iWonder

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