Victoria & Abdul (2017) Script


Ah! Mr. Karim!

I wanted to speak to you about the carpets we sent to the British Exhibition.

There is a problem, sir? No, no.

The carpets went down very well.

In fact, the Governor General has received a letter from the Royal Household thanking him personally.

It's all been such a success, he has decided to present the Queen with a "Mohur" as part of the Jubilee.

A "Mohur," sir?

A Mohur.

Apparently, it's some sort of ceremonial coin.

I have been asked to find someone tall to present it.

You're the tallest person here.

When will she be arriving, sir?

Not in Agra...

In England!

You will travel to England and present the Mohur at an official function.

Like an equerry.

On a horse?

I don't think there'll be a horse.

Equerry always has a horse, Mr. Tyler, sir.

Well, maybe not like an equerry, exactly.


Ah! Morning!

This is Major Bigge...

Extra Groom-in-Waiting to the Royal Household, Windsor, who will be in charge of your journey.

This is Abdul. Top hole!

And this is Mohammed, who will also be presenting the Mohur.

He's very short.

We had to swap him at the last moment.

The tall chap had an accident with an elephant.

Good morning, Your Majesty.

At the head is the Lord Chamberlain, then the Private Secretary, the Deputy Private Secretary, the ladies-in-waiting, the upper servants, the lower-upper servants.

Then the members of the Household.

One, the Head of the Bedchamber.

Two, the Personal Head of Staff.

Three, the Butler in Chief, who is in charge of the Household Butler, the kitchen factotum, the Head Chef, the head of waiting staff, the ordinary waiting staff, Windsor, the table maids, then you. Any questions?

Uh-huh. Who will have the Mohur, sir?

I'm not exactly sure as yet.

I suspect you'll both carry it on a cushion.

Do we both get a cushion?

I really don't know.

The key to good service is standing still and moving backwards.

The most important thing is you must not look at her.

Have you any idea how cold it is in England?

We're gonna die there.

Why did you agree to come?

The tall one fell off an elephant.

I wasn't given a choice.

Ugh! Five thousand miles to present a bloody medal to the oppressor of the entire Indian subcontinent.

You don't realize what a great honor this is for us.

Have you ever tasted English food? They eat pigs' blood.

They do not eat pigs' blood. I'm telling you.

They put pigs' blood in the sausages and brains of sheep.


The place is completely barbaric.

Give me some money.

Please, sir.


Give us a farthing.

Give us a farthing, sir.



We copied them from some drawings in the British Museum.


You do know a sash is not traditional, sir?

The Indian drawings didn't look very... "Indian."

So we made some innovations.

The important thing is to look authentic.

Looks jolly good to me.

Jubilee celebrations. 9:00, breakfast in London.

Quarter to 10:00, changing of the guard.

11:00, meeting with the Swedish Ambassador.

12:00, luncheon with Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, the Norwegian Ambassador, the Chief Under-Secretary of State for the Southern Norwegian Provinces, the Junior Under-Secretary of State for the Northern Norwegian Provinces.

2:00, ceremonial drive down the Mall.

Half past 2:00, tea party at Hyde Park for 30,000 children.

Half past 4:00, Household departs on the Royal train for Windsor.

Half past 6:00, dinner in the Great Hall.

Come on, men! Chop, chop!

And the ceremonial presentation of a Mohur.

The Hindus, sir!

But they're completely different sizes.

There was an incident, sir, with an elephant.


The Queen arrives.


Ceremonial entrance.

The Royal Entourage make their way to the table to be seated thus.

Her Majesty.

Sir Henry Ponsonby, Private Secretary, the Secretary of State for India, the Emperor of Russia, Dr. Reid, Lady Churchill, Miss Phipps, et cetera, et cetera.


Soup, potage Saint-Germain with purée de madeleine.

Fish course, morue aux huîtres.


Entrée, quenelle with regency sauce, et cetera, et cetera.

Dessert, pain d'épinards, tartelettes à la suisse, profiteroles.

Always profiteroles.

You will come from the northwest service entrance.

Process together.

And you will stand here.


A little bit. That's it.

Presenting the tray thus.


I thought it was a cushion.

You will present the tray...

Excuse me.

Do I get a tray?

No. We've only got one tray.

So, what do I do?

You'll just have to improvise.

Whatever you do, you must not look at Her Majesty.

You will bow again. Then moving backwards, you will turn to your left, you will lead thus, and you will process down the hall to be met by Mr. Bigge, who will walk you to the north wall, where you will stand till the end of the meal.

Would you like me to run through that again?

Mr. Yorke, she's heading to Paddington!

Everybody out!

You two, stairs, now!

Jesus Christ! Where are the quenelles?

Oi, you two, out of it!

She's at the station, sir!

Jesus H Christ, she's at the station!

For God's sake, just wait where you were told.

Open the door.

Open the doors!

Open the doors!

Open the doors!

She's here.



Soup! Soup!



Thank heavens!

Soup, Your Majesty.

What, are you taking it all?

I haven't finished yet.

I'm afraid you have to be quick.

They take it off you as soon as she's done.

One down, six to go.

The morue aux huîtres, and then the quenelle.

Yes, sir.

"The morue aux huîtres, and then the quenelles."

This is bloody ridiculous.

Two months in a boat, and I haven't even got a tray?

Yes. Apparently you have to chew it 32 times.

I have the Mohur.

Is that it?

Your Majesty?

Your Majesty?

The, uh...

The profiteroles.

Is that it?

Profiteroles have gone.

Gentlemen, process, turn, bow, present, and absolutely no eye contact whatsoever.

A gift from the Indian Empire.

A Mohur, Your Majesty.

A what?

A Mughal coin, Your Majesty.

In honor of your service to the subcontinent.

Have we finished?

We still have coffee, Your Majesty.


Good morning, Your Majesty.

Breakfast with the Royal Princes of Belgium.

11:00, an audience with the Sultan of Dubai where Her Majesty will be presented with the Diamond of Ooojay.

Garden party where Her Majesty will receive Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, again.

And Queen Lili'uokalani.

Who on Earth is she?

A monarch and sole Queen Regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Your Majesty.

She has composed a song for you.

On the ukulele.

But we have managed to put her off.

Then you will eat with the Prime Minister, and, at 7:00, the banquet in the State Dining Room.

And your movements, Your Majesty?

Nothing to speak of, Dr. Reid.

Not even during the day?

We last moved on Sunday evening.

I fear these celebratory dinners are taking their toll, Your Majesty.

Might I suggest some Benger's mixture?

I refuse to eat Benger's. It's baby food.

But it is imperative, Your Majesty, that the Royal colon receives a little roughage.

Anything else?

Was Your Majesty pleased with the Mohur?


The Mohur. The ceremonial coin.

Presented by the two Indian servants.

I thought the tall one was terribly handsome.


Slight change of plan.

You must not talk to any of the guests.

Nod or bow, but, please, do not interact with anybody other than the serving staff.

I will come to you when the Queen is seated, and you will present the Royal pudding as requested.

Excuse me, sir...

But what is it?

That is a jelly.

A pudding made from the liquor of fruit.

How do they get it so stiff?

Gelatine, a by-product of cow bone.

There's another famine in India.

More trouble in Ireland, I'm afraid.

Suez is a perennial nightmare.

And I'm afraid the Boers are at it again.

Is there any good news, Prime Minister?

Well, we've decided to annex Zululand, Your Majesty.

Whatever for?

We really have to box in the Boers if we possibly can.

Oh, Prime Minister, you really are terribly depressing.


Ah, sandwiches! Mm!


That's wonderful.



Jelly, Your Majesty.

I suddenly feel a great deal better.

What the hell were you thinking?

You said, "Present the jelly," sir.

I didn't say kiss the feet of the Empress of India!

I thought it would cheer her up.

Cheer her up?

They'll have me court-martialed!

What on Earth is going on?

Her Majesty has requested Mr. Karim and Mr. Baksh be her personal footmen for the rest of the Jubilee.

Ah, gentlemen. You can wait here by the door.

Her Majesty wants you to stand in here, by the writing desk.

Go on.

Thank you.

You may go.

Oh, thank you, Your Majesty.

Don't worry.

I'm not going to eat you.

"Dr. Reid, "a very successful movement

"at 8:00 this morning."

What the hell is going on in there?

Thank you, Mr...


Abdul Karim.

I am always writing.

In India, I'm writing all day, every day.

So in India, you are not a servant?

No. In India, I'm writing in my very big book.

You're writing a book?

Yes. I'm writing every name, who they are, what they have done.

This is my life.

Every day, I'm writing, from morning to night.

And is this fiction? No.

It is the very truth.

I don't understand.

If you are an author, why are you here?

Presenting me with a...

The Mohur.

It is my humble privilege to serve Her Majesty.

I was the one who chose your carpets.


Yes. The Viceroy asked Mr. Tyler, sir, but actually it was me.

You have to have a very good eye for the carpets.

Like, this is a very nice one, for example.

Very, very tight knots.

The art of carpets came to India from Persia with the great Emperor Akbar.

The skill of a carpet is to bring all the different kinds of threads together and weave something we can all stand on.

You seem to know a great deal about it.

My family were carpet makers, but now I write in the book.

Life is like a carpet.

We weave in and out to make a pattern.

That is a very beautiful image.


Here is the bird of freedom caught forever in the design.

So, in India you are a poet?


In India, I make a ledger of the prisoners.

We are all prisoners, Mr. Karim.

Apparently, he's a poet.

These people are the exploiters of a quarter of all of mankind.

Do you really think they give a hoot about us, huh?

We'll bloody well freeze to death at this rate.

Cut all the nicey-nicey crap, and let's get the hell out of here.


I promise.

Good night.

Will you stop doing that?

You realize this is the third day in a row.

So, Mr. Abdul, may I ask what part of India you're from?

I'm from Agra.

The Taj Mahal?

You have been to the Taj Mahal?


It is the most marvelous building in the entire world, Your Majesty.

The Crown of Palaces.

It was built by Shah Jahan to remember his dead wife who died at childbirth during their fourteenth child.


He was so upset with grief, he brought the greatest architects from Persia, Afghanistan, to build the Taj Mahal.

It certainly sounds a handsome building.

I'd very much like to see it.

Oh, it is beautiful, Your Majesty!

It's all white marble.

All that beauty for the dead Queen.

Mmm. How romantic.

Shah Jahan also built the Red Fort, the Gardens of Shalimar, the Peacock Throne.

The Peacock Throne?

It is the most beautiful throne in all the world.

And inside the throne was the Koh-i-noor.

But I have the Koh-i-noor. I wear it as a brooch.

Do you? Yes!

It wasn't very shiny, so Albert had it recut.

What happened to the Peacock Throne?

They smashed it up.

How awful.

They're always smashing things up.

The British soldiers have taken the jewels from the Taj Mahal.

British soldiers?

Yes, after the Mutiny.

But this is terrible.

What can they be talking about?

A servant and an Indian.

What on Earth does she see in him?

Well, he is rather handsome.

What happened to Shah Jahan?

He was overthrown by his son and died in Agra Fort.

The wickedness of children.

They buried him in the Taj Mahal with his wife, Mumtaz.

They also wrote an inscription.

"Here lies Shah Jahan

"who left this world for the Banquet Hall of Eternity."

"The Banquet Hall of Eternity."

I rather like that idea.

You seem very well informed.

Ah, these are famous stories of Uttar Pradesh.

You should go there.

Oh, I can never go there. I'm forbidden.


They fear I would be assassinated.

So, you have never seen an Indian street?

Or a stall of spices? No.


Oh, the spices!

Cumin, coriander, garam masala.

Garam masa... What is garam masala?

It is what you put into the sauce.

You have never tasted Indian food?

Dal? Rogan josh?

Biryani with mango chutney.

Mango chutney?

Chutney made out of mango.

What is mango?

Mango is the queen of fruit.

What does it taste like?

Like an orange and a peach.


Sir Henry, I would like a mango.

A mango?

Yes, I would like to taste a mango.

That's impossible, Your Majesty.

They only grow in India.

Well, I'm Empress of India, so have one sent.


Your Majesty?


Thank you.

Another one. Thank you.

How do you like your new Scottish costumes?

They're very scratchy, Your Majesty.

Everything in Scotland is scratchy.

Sir Henry?

When does Bertie arrive?

Tomorrow, Your Majesty.

He's on his way from Monte Carlo.

It's all right for her. She's upholstered.

Oh, God, I hate Scotland!


You must be the Hindus! Very nice to meet you.

You must be the Hindus.

You must be the Hindus.

More, more! More! More.

I wish she'd bloody well go to bed.

Good morning, Your Majesty.

The boxes, Your Majesty.

Thank you.

And the blank journal Your Majesty requested.

You may go.

I'm perfectly capable of working through the boxes.

Abdul is very helpful with his blotter.

But these are parliamentary papers, Your Majesty.

I'm aware of that.

But Abdul is a servant.

He cannot assist with the boxes.

And I am the Queen of England.

I will have whatever help I require with the boxes.

And, Sir Henry, would you get some gloves for the Hindus?

They're suffering terribly from the cold.

He's helping her with the boxes.

I want you to teach me Indian.


Hindu, or whatever it is you speak.

Are you sure? Of course I'm sure.

But why would you like to learn Hindi, Your Majesty?

Well, I'm Empress of India.

Look, I've ordered a book.

I want you to give me private lessons.

I can't teach you Hindi, Your Majesty.

Why ever not?

You are the Empress of India.

You should learn Urdu, language of the Mughals.

There are a thousand languages in India.

But Urdu is the most noble.

In Hindi, you write like this.

But in Urdu, you write like this.

"I am the Queen."

I see.

He's teaching her Hindu.

Is that allowed?

I think you will find it is Urdu.

The Muslim version.

Oh, my goodness me!

That's it.

You are the Queen.

The Queen is very wise.

You see?

Now, you write it down.

She's writing in her journal.

And she's speaking in Hindustani.

No, it's Urdu, actually.

The Muslim version.

Knee. Knee. Knee.

Yes! Yes!

Thank you, Abdul.

You are an excellent teacher.



Were you spying on me?

Were you learning Urdu?

Yes, I was, as a matter of fact.

You think that's entirely appropriate?

Well, I'm Empress of India. What could be more appropriate?

But in front of the entire Household?

You're absolutely right.

I have no privacy here.

Sir Henry, I would like to go with Abdul to Glassalt Shiel.

Glassalt Shiel? Alone.

But I've only just got here!

Oh, to be by oneself and live a simple, rudimentary existence.

They don't understand anything, those stupid aristocratic fools.

Toadying around. Jockeying for position.

I've had it all my life.

They couldn't bear me bringing dear John Brown here.

Yet I was happier here than anywhere in the entire world.

Oh, I miss him, Abdul.

And Albert.

It's 30 years now, and I think of him every day.

I'm so lonely.

Everyone I've really loved has died, and I just go on and on.

Your Majesty.

It's an impossible position.

No one really knows what it's like to be Queen.

I'm hated by millions of people all over the world.

I have had nine children, all vain and jealous, and at loggerheads with each other.

And Bertie's a complete embarrassment.

And look at me!

A fat, lame, impotent, silly old woman.

What is the point, Abdul?

What is the point?



I think we are not here to worry about ourselves.

We are here for a greater purpose.

In the Koran it says, "We are here for the good of others."

The Koran?

Yes, I am a hafiz. I know the Koran by heart.

By heart? Isn't it very long?

114 surahs, containing 6,236 verses.

And you know every word?

Many Muslim people know the Koran.

I thought you were Hindu.

I am a Muslim, Your Majesty.

I learnt the Koran from my father.

He's my munshi.


Yes. Munshi. My teacher.

Well, we would like you to be the Queen's munshi.

But I'm only a servant, Your Majesty.

A servant cannot be a munshi.

Well, you are a servant no longer.

You are my teacher.

You will teach me Urdu, and the Koran, and anything else you can think of.


What the hell is a munshi?

Well, apparently it's some sort of a spiritual teacher, Your Royal Highness.

Has she completely lost her mind?

She's the head of the Church of England, for God's sake.

What's the Archbishop of Canterbury going to say?

I say he's the "brown" John Brown.

Oh, my God!

Your Majesty.

Good evening, Bertie.


Dinner is served!

Lady Churchill was absolutely scandalized sitting next to a servant.

And a Hindu to boot!

The Munshi is a Muslim scholar and knows the Koran off by heart.

And for your information, he's a servant no longer.

He's to be given a staff of his own.

What do you mean, "a staff"?

The little fat one.

Oh, this is absurd!

Letters, invitations to supper...

You're treating him like a member of the family.

No, I like Abdul.

Lady Churchill had better get used to the fact as the Munshi is coming on holiday with us.

As a member of the Household.

You can't take a Muslim to Florence.

I can take a Muslim wherever I like.

Good night, Bertie.



A spiritual advisor?

You haven't an idea in your head!

You promised to get us out of here, and now we're going to bloody Florence.

You don't see what a privilege it is to see the glories of Italy with all these wonderful people.

You complete bloody idiot!

Do you think they're just going to stand there and let her promote a wog?

I did not come here to carry your bloody cases.

What are you complaining about?

We have our own carriage with a bathroom.

They've made a very nice bed for you on the floor.

Oh, I'm dying here.

I want to go home.

I'm getting sick of your negative attitude.

Life is a big adventure.

You just need to open up and enjoy it.

We're on holiday.

And what? What on Earth can possibly go wrong?

"Do not pull."

I would like to apologize for the emergency brakes, Your Majesty.

And I hope you did not get injured.

Oh, Abdul!

It was nothing.

It was a perfectly understandable mistake.

I'm so glad you're with us.

What a treat to show you Florence. What's he doing here?

Abdul came to explain what happened earlier.

I really don't see why I have to share your bathroom.

I shared a bed with my mother until I became Queen.

I am 57 years old.

The Munshi has got his own bathroom.

Yes, very fine bathroom.

Yes, yes!

Good night, Mama.

Good night, Mr. Bertie.

Bertie, make sure you shut that door.


I have something for you.

To celebrate your first visit to Florence and for becoming my munshi.

It is a locket.

With a picture of me.

How can I ever thank you, Your Majesty?

Keep me safe.


Oh, Abdul.

You will love Florence.

Such wonderful views.

Isn't it glorious?

Albert loved it here.

He so admired the Medicis, that they commissioned the greatest artists of the day in order to leave something astonishing behind.

In India also, we commission great artists.

Each emperor would bring the greatest craftsmen to make great glories for their durbar room.

Durbar room? Yes.

Every emperor had a durbar room, full of the finest things known to man.

Well, I'm the Empress of India, I should have a durbar room.

That's a wonderful idea, Your Majesty.

But where would you put it?

Oh, the Isle of Wight, obviously.

Your Majesty, Signor Puccini has arrived.


Where did you say it was from, Mr. Puccini?

From my new opera, Your Majesty, Manon Lescaut.

About two lovers who are separated by the class divide.

But they run away together.

Oh, it sounds marvelous!

But she is imprisoned for her love.


But they escape.


But finally she dies, and he is utterly bereft.

I'm not sure we do like the sound of it after all.

We prefer comic opera.

Do you know any Gilbert and Sullivan?

Perhaps Your Majesty will sing us a song?

Please? Oh, no, I couldn't possibly.

Of course, of course, yes, Your Majesty!

No, really.

Yes, Your Majesty.

Oh, well.

Maybe just one.

From Pinafore, Bertie?

Do I have to?

I'm called Little Buttercup Dear Little Buttercup Though I could never tell why But still I'm called Buttercup Poor Little Buttercup Sweet Little Buttercup, I I've snuff and tobaccy And excellent jacky Of...

I was taught by Mendelssohn, you know?

To the Queen!

To the Queen!

To me!

We shouldn't have had so much champagne.

May I?

Oh, Abdul!

I haven't been as happy as this for years.

When I first came to England, I was terrified of you.

But you're a very kind lady.

You're a very unique lady to me.

And you are very, very unique to me, Abdul.

I know that you are much older than me, and you are the Queen of England, and the Empress of India, and I'm just a humble munshi.

But I think you are the most special person in my whole life.

Even more special than my wife.



You're married?

Of course.

Where is your wife?

In India.

Why didn't you tell me you were married?

I didn't think it mattered.

Well, of course it matters.

It changes everything.

You must return to India immediately.

And bring her back at once.

Bloody hell.

He's coming!

How terribly exciting.

It's Ali Baba!

Look at the size of him.

Where'd he get those medals?

What the devil is she wearing?

You can't even see her face.

She looks rather splendid.

But you cannot actually see her, Your Majesty.

I think it's rather dignified.

Who the hell is that?

Get the bags, boy.

He's brought a serving boy.

Good God, another one! How many has he got in there?

Ruddy sod's a bigamist.

I do hope they like their little cottage.

Your Majesty.

I hope it's not inconvenient.

I just thought we'd pop round for tea.

This is my granddaughter, Sophia, Queen of Greece.

And this is Grand Duchess Sophie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.

And my daughter, Princess Helena Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein- Sonderburg-Augustenburg.

This is my wife, Mrs. Karim.

And this is my mother-in-law.

Your Majesty, Sophia, Queen of Greece, Grand Duchess Sophie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Princess Helena Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein- Sonderburg-Augustenburg, I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of myself, my wife, and my wife's mother to thank Her Majesty for accommodating us.

We are very grateful for her infinite kindness and interior decoration.

The gift of hospitality and friendship to strangers is of very high importance in our culture.

And so we are honored to repay it in our own small way.

What is ours is yours.

Quite literally.


My dear Munshi, we are so glad to have you here, my children.

We have missed you enormously.

I can't wait to show you the Durbar Room.


Ponsonby, you will have to do something about this.

My dear Munshi, I'm so glad you're back.

It's been dreadfully dull without you.

And I'm so glad to meet Mrs. Karim.

There is just one thing I've been curious about the whole afternoon.

What does she look like behind her veil?

You must see her.

Is that allowed?

You're a lady. And the Empress of India.


Well, where the bloody hell's she going now?

Your Majesty.


You really are beautiful.

What on Earth is a durbar room?

It's a celebration of all things Indian, Prime Minister, inspired by the Mughal emperors.

But I don't understand.

Who gave her permission to build this in the first place?

Don't blame me, I was in Monte Carlo.

I'm afraid she's a law unto herself, Prime Minister.

For God's sake! She'll be wearing a burqa next.

Prime Minister, you are late.

I'm terribly sorry, Your Majesty.

Well, let us begin.

This, as you can see, is the Indian corridor.

The Durbar Room was designed by Mr. Bhai Ram Singh.

The place is crawling with them.

We have commissioned a series of portraits of eminent Indians.


Princess Gowramma.

And this of course, is the Munshi.

An honor to meet you, Mr. Prime Minister, sir.

A good likeness, don't you think?

I asked him to take a few pounds off.

This is my wife, Mr. Prime Minister, sir.

And that is my mother-in-law.

At least I think that's the right way round.

These are my servants, Mohammed and Ahmed.

And this is the Durbar Room.

What the hell is going on here, Ponsonby?

The carvings are from Uttar Pradesh.

And the carpet was woven in a jail in Agra.

Perfect, I think, for the tableau.

But the pièce de résistance is the Peacock Throne.

An exact copy of the one at Agra.

And, of course, the Koh-i-noor.

Now I really do feel like the Empress of India.

I thought she was supposed to be dying.

It really is a remarkable addition to the house, Your Majesty.

We have Abdul to thank for the whole idea.

To celebrate the completion of the Durbar Room, a little surprise, Your Majesty.

What is it?

A mango, Your Majesty.

One moment, Your Majesty.


It's off.

Sir Henry.

This mango is off.

I'm terribly sorry, Your Majesty.

Take one of these whenever you see the Munshi.

I can't wait to show you the tableau, Prime Minister.

A line has definitively been crossed.

I can't go on stage like this.

I'm absolutely sick.

But you have to.

The Prime Minister will be watching.

This is a complete and utter disaster.

I don't know what you're talking about.

They've been waiting for this.

Who? Who have?

Ponsonby, Reid, the whole damn lot.

Don't you see? She's been rubbing their noses in it, but now it's going public.

I'm telling you, they're not going to stand for it.

They'll rise up and chop your bloody balls off.

I haven't done anything.

You stupid bloody Uncle Tom.

You can't win on their terms.

Mrs. Munshi.


I've never been so humiliated in my entire life.

Actually, I'm rather enjoying it.

Beginners on stage, please.

A scene in Ancient Persia.

I am the Sultan of Persia.

The King of all Kings.

Your Highness!

We bestow upon you all the riches of the Orient.

You are now under my power!

Bravo, bravo, the Munshi!

What the hell is this, Ponsonby? Munshi-mania?

I'm trying to keep an empire together, looks like they're running the place.

I want this whole sodding mess knocked on the head.

Or you're finished.


Oh, Sir Henry.

Tell us what exactly did the Prime Minister say about the tableau?

To be entirely frank, Your Majesty, he seemed to be a little perturbed.

Whatever for?

He must have liked the Munshi.

I think the Munshi was the problem, Your Majesty.

Really? I thought he was rather good.

I think he meant his position, I think he was rather alarmed he had such a prominent role in the Household.

Of course Abdul has a prominent role in the Household.

He is my munshi.

But he's an Indian, Your Majesty.

I am aware of that.

Given current sensitivities in the subcontinent, Your Majesty, the Prime Minister was concerned that it might be sending the wrong message.

I should have thought it was a jolly good message.

But he's a Muslim, Your Majesty.


We owe them so much, do we not?

For their role in the Mutiny, for example.

The Mutiny, Your Majesty?

Yes, for the help they gave us with the Hindus.

But the Mutiny was a Muslim-led revolt, Your Majesty.

Are you sure?

Of course.

The Muslim soldiers revolted when it was rumored that their rifles were greased with pork fat.


The Grand Mufti, himself, put out a fatwa against you personally, Your Majesty.

And Muslim soldiers murdered over two thousand British personnel.

Who have you been talking to, Mother?


I have opened my heart to you.

I brought your family from India.

I promoted you in the face of considerable opposition and disquiet from the Household.

I even turned a blind eye when you failed to tell me that you were married, which, as you know, came as quite a surprise.

How could you let me humiliate myself in front of the entire Household?

I am deeply sorry, Your Majesty.

You said the Hindus were behind the Mutiny.

I didn't say it was only the Hindus.

You told me categorically the Muslims were my friends.

We are your friends, Your...

Abdul, there is a fatwa against me.

It was the Muslims who started the whole thing.

This is completely unacceptable.

Abdul, I thought you were outstanding as the Sultan of Persia, but I'm afraid you have to go home.


You've hurt my feelings very much indeed.

Don't you see the position you have put me in?

Thank you for everything you've done for me.

I will miss you a very great deal.

So, we're going home?

Good night, Mother.

Good night.

Mrs. Tuck?

Mrs. Tuck.


You've been an utter fool.

And I'm absolutely furious with you.

It is unconscionable that as my munshi you should have lied to me in any way.


It would be also completely churlish of me not to recognize the considerable kindness and devotion you have shown.

I suppose in some way you thought you were protecting me.

But as the monarch I realize that nothing can really protect me.

And so, in that light, I have decided, although I'm very disappointed,

that I want you to stay.

Your gracious Majesty. Thank you, Your Majesty.

Abdul, there is something we must sort out.

I am deeply concerned about Mrs. Karim.

Mrs. Karim?

By now, one would have expected to hear the pitter-patter of little Muslim feet along the corridors of Osborne House.

I am concerned that everything is functioning below stairs.

I want you to examine Mrs. Karim.

Examine Mrs. Karim?


Just, um, make sure that everything's working.

But, Your Majesty, I thought the Munshi and his family were leaving us.

Whatever gave you that impression?

The Munshi and his family are integral parts of the Royal Household.

As far as I'm concerned, this is war.

We're going to dig up every last bit of dirt this blackguard's ever done.

I want someone in India raking through the family coals.

Your son's out there, isn't he, Ponsonby?

I couldn't possibly be involved in subterfuge, Your Royal Highness.

Look, very soon I am going to be King.

You will bloody well do as you're told!

You'll leave no stone unturned.

You will make a dossier, and you put it all down in black and white.

And put an end to all this shit!

For good.

Well, I'd better go and examine Mrs. Munshi.

Dr. Reid.

Do come in.

She'll have to uncover her face.

That is impossible, sir.

I need to see her tongue.


She's fine.

Mr. Mohammed.

We have come here because we are not unaware of your predicament.

That you arrived in the first place almost by accident, and now find yourself stuck here through a bizarre set of circumstances, none of your own making.

Nor is it beneath our notice that the inclement English weather has been the cause of a precipitous decline in your general health.

What is more, you continue to suffer the vast indignity of being a servant to someone who is in many ways your inferior.

So, it occurred to us that, um, we might be able to offer you some help.


Travel home.

Perhaps a modest pension.

In return, of course, for, um...

A little information.

You want me to dish the dirty?

In a manner of speaking.

What would you like me to say?

Anything, really.

Well, we need details.

What he says.

What he does.

Abdul does what everyone else does.

He, uh...

He looks for preferment.

He curries favor.

He crawls up the stinking greasy pole of the shitty British Empire.

Making fools of all of you, because he is a servant.

An Indian Muslim servant, and you are all quaking in your boots because he's beating you at your own game.

No one is quaking in their boots.

We are the most powerful nation on Earth.

At the height of our influence.

In that case, the only way is down.

So stick your stupid British Empire up your stinky royal bottom hole, Mr. Bertie Prince, sir.

I hope he makes the whole damn thing come tumbling down.

I will see to it that you die here.

He didn't say anything.

What do you mean, "He didn't say anything"?

We did our best with him, but he spoke most intemperately.

The man is an absolute shit.

Dr. Reid.

I'm not a fool.

I know there is some skullduggery afoot.

Something's going on here, and I'm not going to stand for it.

Dr. Reid, I asked you to get to the bottom of Mrs. Karim's fertility issues.

It seems that nothing has been done.

Well, actually, Your Majesty, it was impossible to make a conclusive judgment for religious reasons.

Did you examine the Munshi?

No, Your Majesty.

Well, examine the Munshi.


I did not do seven years at Edinburgh University to look at Indian dicks!


Eureka! He is riddled with the clap!

Well, well.

Mother, we have to see you.


I'm in the middle of my Urdu lesson.

Mother, we come with very important news of a highly personal matter.

I've nothing to hide from Abdul.

Please, Your Majesty.

Your Majesty...

I'm afraid our news concerns the Munshi.

We have proof beyond any doubt that Abdul Karim is a low-born impostor, Your Majesty.

The Munshi is from a noble family and a long line of teachers.

No, I'm afraid he was a mere clerk in a common jail.

My own son has sent word from India and has actually spoken to his immediate superior.

His family are completely uneducated.

His father is a lowly apothecary.

The Munshi never even went to school, Mother.

The man's a complete fraud.

And here he is, overlooking the boxes.

I'm afraid it's true, Your Majesty.

Abdul and his father are completely common.

We have prepared a dossier.

You despicable toads!


Spying? Dossier?

Picking on a poor defenseless Indian?

Of course he doesn't have qualifications.

They do things completely differently out there.

Don't you see, Mama?

He's using his position for his own gain.

And how does that make him any different from any of you?

How dare you look down on Abdul?

How dare you defame his poor father?

Bertie, I'm ashamed that you're part of all this.

Abdul is a loyal, wise, sympathetic human being, who has raised himself on his own merits.

Bring Abdul in here.

Bring him in!

Now, I want you to repeat after me, "I will be courteous to the Munshi."

I will be courteous to the Munshi.


I will be courteous to the Munshi.

Bertie. All of you.

"I will be courteous to the Munshi."

I will be courteous to the Munshi.

It has become apparent that in order to get any respect from the Household, one needs to be formally recognized.

In which case, Abdul.

I intend to give you a knighthood in the next honors list.

Enough! This is absurd!

We cannot protect you from this any further.

The man is riddled with gonorrhea!


Yes. Your Majesty.

Well, you are a doctor. Why don't you treat him?

Now get out of my sight, all of you!

Listen, you pox-ridden Indian shit!

Why don't you bloody well leave her alone? Dr. Reid! Dr. Reid!

Be courteous!


Surely there is some law against it.

The man's a common Indian, for God's sakes.

Well, she can't just do what she likes.

That's right.

We are the ones who make this palace work, and we are being ignored and exploited. Yes.

We have to stand up to this wanton bullying.

But she's the Queen.

She's our sovereign.

Her position is based entirely on the implicit contract she makes with us.

If she does not drop this preposterous insult, we should all leave!


Somebody has to tell her.

We should make a deputation.

I think you should go.

You're the head of the Household.

Oh, no, I couldn't possibly go.

It would bring the position into disrepute.

Mrs. Tuck.

You know her very well, don't you?

But I'm just her dresser.

What about you, Miss Phipps?

Off you go.

And don't take "no" for an answer.

Your Majesty.

Out with it.

Girl, can't you see, I'm busy.

There is something I must say that...

What is the meaning of this? Stop shaking!

I have come to ask you to reconsider the...

The elevation of...

Of Mr. Karim.

What did you say?

I've come to ask you not to give Mr. Karim a knighthood, Your Majesty.

Why the devil not?

The members of the Household demand that you abandon your plans, Your Majesty.


We believe that it degrades the very concept of knighthood.

He comes from a very low family, Your Majesty.

And he is colored.

Get out of my sight.

Did you not hear me?

Your Majesty, I must inform you that if you refuse, the entire Household will resign.




Mummy, enough is enough.

You will drop this Munshi business forthwith.

Do you hear me?

Did you really think the Household would countenance such an insult?

I will not be disobeyed.

No. No.

I have put up with you for over 50 years!

You will drop this forthwith or...

Or, or, or, or, Bertie?

Or we will have you certified insane!

And removed from office immediately.

Here are the papers signed by Dr. Reid.

I am 81 years of age.

I've had nine children, and 42 grandchildren, and have almost a billion citizens.

I have rheumatism, a collapsed uterus.

I'm morbidly obese and deaf in one ear.

I have known eleven Prime Ministers and passed 2,347 pieces of legislation.

I've been in office 62 years, 234 days.

Thus, I am the longest-serving monarch in world history.

I'm responsible for five households and a staff of over 3,000.

I am cantankerous, boring, greedy, fat, ill-tempered, at times selfish and myopic, both metaphorically and literally.

I am perhaps disagreeably attached to power and should not have smashed the Emperor of Russia's egg.

But I am anything but insane.

If the Household wish to disobey me, so be it.

Let them do it to my face.

I will see everyone in the Durbar Room at once.

Her Majesty the Queen.

I understand there is some concern over my desires on preferment.

I understand feelings have run high.

And I understand you have decided to resign, rather than withstand my decision.

If any one of you wishes to tender their resignation, it will be accepted without any unfortunate consequences.

But at least have the decency to do it to my face!

Anyone wishing to resign, please step forward.

I would like to inform you that I have decided against awarding any knighthoods at this moment.

Instead, you'll be delighted to know that I have decided to make the Munshi a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order

as a special token of my personal esteem for his services to the Empire.

That is all.

Your Majesty. Your Majesty!

Your Majesty, are you all right?

Dr. Reid! Dr. Reid!

Dr. Reid!

Dr. Reid, you must come quick! No, no, not now.

Dr. Reid! It's Mr. Mohammed!

Get that boy out of here.

Your Majesty, can you hear me?

Your Majesty?

All right, let's get you up.

I'm so sorry, Abdul.

I think it's time you went home, Abdul.

This is my home.

I've been short-sighted and selfish.

You are a young man.

You have your whole life ahead of you.

It's not safe here.

Your Majesty.

The vultures are already circling.

How can I protect you if I'm not here?

Your Majesty, you will reign for many years to come.

No, Abdul.

I'm sick.

All these stupid ceremonies will kill me.

You have been a very good friend.

But you must leave me.

I'm your servant.

And as long as I shall live, I shall be by your side.

Every single day.


Nothing will stop me.

Abdul, I am your Queen.

Your Majesty, I'm your munshi.

And I will never leave you.

You are a fool.

But I adore you.

I think you should inform the Kaiser.

Abdul... Abdul...

Abdul... It's me, Mummy.

And your grandson, Wilhelm.

Where is my munshi?

The Kaiser.

I need my munshi.

Hush, hush. Everything will be all right.

I want the Munshi.

Don't you dare upset her.

I want to talk to the Munshi alone.

I think perhaps, Your Majesty...

I said alone.

When I was young,

I used to long for death.

Now, when there is nothing to live for, I cling to life with every breath.

I'm scared, Abdul.

Don't be scared.

"Listen, little drop, "give yourself up without regret

"and in return you will gain the ocean.

"Give yourself away

"and in the great sea you will be secure."


You are a teacher, Abdul.

Everybody knows Rumi.

Allah is the teacher.

Love is the whole.

We are only pieces.


I keep thinking I'm falling.


All will be well.

You are about to go to a much safer place.

"The Banquet Hall of Eternity."



my Queen.


Take care, my sweet son.

Let her sleep.

Someone's coming.

I grieve to say Her Majesty passed away at 6:30 precisely.

Long live the King.

Out the way!

I want every last thing that's connected to her.

Abdul! Abdul!

I want you out of here.


Your Majesty!

Good morning, Your Majesty.

How are you today?