Diaries reveal Queen Victoria's affection for her 'Indian John Brown'





For more than a century, Munshi Abdul Karim was derided as a jumped-up servant who refused to know his place in Queen Victoria's household.

After arriving from the subcontinent in 1887, he quickly won the monarch's devoted affection and became known as the "Indian John Brown".

His influence over the queen was so envied that when Victoria died her son King Edward ordered palace guards to destroy correspondence she sent to the Munshi to erase all record of their relationship.

But a new archive of letters, photographs and the Munshi's handwritten 'autobiography' shown to The Daily Telegraph, held secretly by his descendants for more than a century, has emerged in India and Pakistan which paints a different picture of Abdul Karim and his relationship with the Queen.

They chart the extraordinary rise of the 24-year-old clerk from Agra in Northern India who was picked as one of two Indian table waiters to serve Victoria during her Golden Jubilee. They reveal her "maternal" care and concern for his welfare and the hostility and racism Victoria believed he faced as he made his ascent.



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