Victoria and Abdul: The True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant by Shrabani BasuHe served her during the final fourteen years of her reign, gaining her maternal affection over that time. Karim was born the son of a hospital assistant near Jhansi in British India. In , the year of Victoria's Golden Jubilee , Karim was one of two Indians selected to become servants to the Queen. Victoria came to like him a great deal and gave him the title of " Munshi " "clerk" or "teacher". Victoria appointed him to be her Indian Secretary, showered him with honours, and obtained a land grant for him in India. The close platonic   relationship between Karim and the Queen led to friction within the Royal Household , the other members of which felt themselves to be superior to him.
Queen Victoria's Last Love Abdul Karim
'How I uncovered the hidden friendship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul'
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Please refresh the page and retry. He was holding a book, looking sideways. Something that about that expression struck me, and when I moved along, I saw another portrait of him looking rather gentle. It was very unusual. B asu, however, had been brought up in Delhi and could make sense of the journals. Her passion for India was obvious, from her desperate wish to eat a mango and her view of the Karims as her equals. His inscriptions still lay engraved on the tombstone.
The first time Shrabani Basu heard of Abdul Karim, she was carrying out research for a book about the history of curry in the late s. A few years later, while on holiday with her family, she came across a painting of Karim in Osborne House, a former private home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the U. He was obviously someone very special to her. And what had his relationship with the Queen of England been like? But Basu could not see the whole picture.
Abdul Karim: The Queen’s “Indian John Brown”
The two had reportedly been so close that rumors of an affair between them ran rampant through the court. Four years before Karim arrived in England, though, John Brown died and the Queen was left with a great void in her life. Her family had expected her to find a way to fill it — but nobody would have imagined that the man taking his place would be a year-old prison clerk from India. Karim was sent to England to work as a servant at her Golden Jubilee, the celebration of her 50th year as Queen of England. He was given a few hasty lessons in English and sent halfway across the world, expecting nothing more than to wait a few tables. The queen was almost instantly fascinated by Karim. She described him as tall and handsome.
By Ben Leach. He is so good and gentle and understanding… and is a real comfort to me. These were the words of Queen Victoria speaking to her daughter-in-law, Louise, Duchess of Connaught, on November 3, , at Balmoral. Perhaps surprising, though, is who she was talking about — not her beloved husband, Albert, who had died in Nor John Brown, her loyal Scottish ghillie, who in many ways filled the void left by Albert, since Brown had died in Her relationship with Karim was one that sent shockwaves through the royal court — and ended up being one of the most scandalous periods of her year reign. Indeed, such was the ill-feeling that when Victoria died, her son King Edward ordered all records of their relationship, including correspondence and photographs, to be destroyed.