Cover image for Victoria & Abdul : the true story of the queen's closest confidant
Title:
Victoria & Abdul : the true story of the queen's closest confidant
Edition:
First Vintage Books edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2017.

©2017.
ISBN:
9780525434412
Physical Description:
334 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Language:
English
Abstract:
The tall, handsome Abdul Karim was just twenty-four years old when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at tables during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. An assistant clerk at Agra Central Jail, he suddenly found himself a personal attendant to the Empress of India herself. Within a year, he was established as a powerful figure at court, becoming the queen's teacher, or Munshi, and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs. Devastated by the death of John Brown, her Scottish gillie, the queen had at last found his replacement. But her intense and controversial relationship with the Munshi led to a near-revolt in the royal household. 'Victoria & Abdul' examines how a young Indian Muslim came to play a central role at the heart of the Empire, and his influence over the queen at a time when independence movements in the sub-continent were growing in force. Yet, at its heart, it is a tender love story between an ordinary Indian and his elderly queen, a relationship that survived the best attempts to destroy it.
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Book 941.081 BAS 1 .SOURCE. BAKER & TAYLOR
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Book 941.081 BAS 1 .PUBLIC. Softcover
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Book 941.081 BAS 1 .PUBLIC. Softcover
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Book BIOGRAPHY QUEEN VICTORIA 1 .SOURCE. BT 10-9-17
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On Order

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Cottonwood Public Library1Received on 10/26/17

Summary

Summary

Now a Major Motion Picture starring Dame Judi Dench from director Stephen Frears.

History's most unlikely friendship--this is the astonishing story of Queen Victoria and her dearest companion, the young Indian Munshi Abdul Karim.

In the twilight years of her reign, after the devastating deaths of hertwo great loves--Prince Albert and John Brown--Queen Victoria meets tall and handsome Abdul Karim, a humble servant from Agra waiting tables at her Golden Jubilee. The two form an unlikely bond and within a year Abdul becomes a powerful figure at court, the Queen's teacher, her counsel on Urdu and Indian affairs, and a friend close to her heart. This marked the beginning of the most scandalous decade in Queen Victoria's long reign. As the royal household roiled with resentment, Victoria and Abdul's devotion grew in defiance. Drawn from secrets closely guarded for more than a century, Victoria & Abdul is an extraordinary and intimate history of the last years of the nineteenth-century English court and an unforgettable view onto the passions of an aging Queen.


Reviews 1

Kirkus Review

The story of the Indian man who took the place of John Brown in Queen Victoria's life and heart.Basu (For King and Another Country: Indian Soldiers on the Western Front, 1914-18, 2016, etc.) had access to heretofore unseen documents, letters, and interviews regarding Abdul Karim (1863-1909) and his controversial relationship with the queen. Upon the queen's death in 1901, King Edward VII immediately sent for all of Victoria's correspondence, which they burned promptly on the spot. In 1887, Karim traveled from Agra to England as part of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebration to showcase Britain's empire. He was one of two Indians chosen to be servants to the queen, though he looked more like a nawab (a kind of Indian prince) than a servant. Eventually, he became a munshi, a teacher or counselor. Though she never visited, Victoria loved India, and many Indian princes attended the jubilee and were given pride of place at the table. Victoria also loved to show off her Indian servants to other European nobles during her annual spring vacations on the continent. Karim quickly endeared himself to the queen, telling her stories of India, cooking curries, and teaching her his language. Their daily lessons enabled her to read and write Urdu and to greet visiting maharajas in their native tongue. Of course, the queen's household and the other servants were quick to grumble as jealousy and outright hatred grew. In class-conscious England, the author ably shows, Karim overstepped all bounds. He was not just a munshi; he influenced political affairs, was served with the household rather than the servants, and was given cottages for his own use. Karim gave Victoria someone to talk to; like John Brown, he lifted her spirits. In a book packed with names and hierarchy, Basu helpfully includes a dramatis personae and a family tree. King Edward's success in repressing stories of one of Queen Victoria's advisers has now been overturned with solid research and crisp, clear writing. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.