Lonely ruler finds a friend in lowly Indian Muslim clerk

The friendship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) was erased from royal records but later uncovered by an Indian journalist. Photo: Universal
The friendship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) was erased from royal records but later uncovered by an Indian journalist. Photo: Universal

In 1887, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), arrives from India to present Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) with a commemorative coin for her Golden Jubilee. The Queen is so bored and depressed at her celebratory dinner, she can barely stay awake, until she notices Abdul. The 24-year-old clerk is surprised to find favor with the 68-year-old queen. 

Victoria is lonely and oppressed by the royal doctor who monitors her along with the solicitous Sir Henry Ponsonby (Tim Pigott-Smith).

She is in need of a true friend and appears to find one in Muslin Abdul. He becomes her cherished manservant and ascends through the ranks. Meanwhile, Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position and the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance her household and inner circle try to destroy.

As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity, studying the Koran and Urdu under Abdul’s tutelage.

 Session details page 3.