In 1897, Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee - the first British monarch to do so. But beyond the grand celebrations on London's streets, a war was raging between Victoria and her court over her relationship with her Indian servant Abdul Karim.
Victoria's friendship with her Scottish servant John Brown is a familiar story. Her relationship with Karim is less well known but produced even greater shockwaves in the palace.
Originally one of two Indians selected to join the Queen's household, Karim rose from being a humble waiter to become Victoria's most intimate confidant.
He introduced her to the delights of Indian cuisine, fed her romantic visions of India, and became her 'Munshi' or teacher, giving Victoria daily lessons in Hindustani.
Their relationship violated Victorian taboos of race and class as well as stoking bitter jealousy in the royal household; Karim was showered with honours and promoted over the courtiers whose families had served the royal family for generations.
The presence of a Muslim at the heart of the British court even threatened to destabilise the politics of Empire itself.
A crisis point was reached in the summer of 1897 in a dramatic confrontation between the Queen and her family, which threatened to plunge diamond jubilee celebrations into chaos.
The film features interviews with relatives of both Victoria's household and Abdul Karim, as well as extracts from Victoria's diaries and journals.Watch now on 4oD
|Wednesday 25 April 2012||9PM||Channel 4|
|Saturday 09 March 2013||7PM||Channel 4|