Queen Victoria's Indian servant


Victoria's Indian servant


  • Intro

    In 1887, soon after Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, Abdul Karim arrived with several other Indians at the Royal Household to attend the Queen.


    The 24-year-old Abdul Karim was ‘tall with fine serious countenance’. Originally a clerk in Agra, Queen Victoria promoted him to be her native language teacher known as a Munshi, teaching her Hindustani. A favourite, he was elevated to the post of ‘Indian secretary’ in 1894 to assist the Queen with her ‘boxes’ and correspondence. He was given titles and cottages. Victoria also had his portrait painted. This attention displeased the Royal Court, leading to several intrigues maligning his character, as Lord Ponsonby’s letter shows.


    After Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, he was sent back to India and his papers were burnt. No further royal servants from India were appointed.


    Shelfmark: Mss Eur F 84/126a

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