Saturday, April 10, 2010

Victoria and Abdul

Queen Victoria's "Dearest Munshi." (Via Hermes)

Queen Victoria had developed a fascination for all things Indian after she was made Empress of the country in 1876. For her Golden Jubilee celebrations in 1887, she declared that she wanted someone at hand who could help her address the Indian princes who were due to attend the jubilee.

And so she wrote to her officials in India, asking for two Indian servants to be sent to her for a year's duration. One of those who was picked was a 24-year-old clerk from Agra - Abdul Karim - who was given a crash course in the English language, social customs and court etiquette - and fitted out with smart tunics and trousers.



Julygirl said...

Sounds like Victoria wasn't very 'Victorian'. I can see where her grandaughter,The Tsarina, inherited her penchant for Rasputin.

Leah Marie Brown said...

Elena Marie, I don't know if you remember me, but we corresponded quite regularly several years ago. At that time, I operated one of the only educational, award-winning websites dedicated to Marie Antoinette (Let Them Eat Cake: Titillating Facts and Cunning Linguistics about Marie Antoinette).

Anyway, the website is defunct but I do have a blog. I hope you will visit it and tell me what you think (there are several pieces about history, particularly Marie Antoinette and various 18th c. figures).

Nice to have found you again on the net! I enjoy your blog and would like to be a regular follower.