Friday, May 30, 2008

Queen Victoria had an affair with Indian courtier: Film

Contrary to her sombre public image, in private Britain's Queen Victoria was a passionate, romantic and a feisty politician who even had an affair with an young and handsome Indian servant, according to a new film.

Apart from the Indian courtier Abdul Karim, Victoria had flirtatious relationships with two of her Prime Ministers -- Lord Melbourne and Benjamin Disraeli -- and also developed an affair with a British servant, the Daily Mail reported, citing the film to be aired on 'Channel 4' next week.

In fact, the Queen fell for Karim whom she had asked to teach her Hindi and also to educate her in his Hindustani culture when she became Empress of India. ''He is a very strict master and a perfect gentleman,'' she wrote about him.

Victoria had insisted that he was treated as an equal among her advisers and courtiers and anyone who did not do so she accused of racism, eroding the boundaries between Monarch and servant, the film reveals.

But the love of her life was her cousin Prince Albert to whom she proposed following just four days of courtship.

She went to the extent of writing a breathless account to Lord Melbourne after their wedding night.
''It was a gratifying and bewildering experience. I never, never spent such an evening. His excessive love and affection gave me feelings of heavenly love and happiness. He clasped me in his arms and we kissed each other again and again,'' Victoria wrote.

As Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne used to guide the young Queen through the intricacies of statecraft, which led to the first scandal. However, marriage was out of the question and once she set her sights on Albert, she dropped Melbourne.

But Albert died of typhoid when she was just over 40, and Victoria went into deep mourning and seclusion.

Soon, there was another scandal as Victoria became enchanted by Benjamin Disraeli. ''He is full of poetry, romance and chivalry,'' the Queen wrote of her new PM in 1868.

But all the other scandals apart, it is the exact nature of her relationship with British servant John Brown that is the most tantalising mystery.

When Victoria died, in accordance with her strict instructions, she was laid out in her wedding dress with a cast of Albert's hand beside her, along with a photograph of John Brown.

It has only recently been discovered that she was also buried wearing Brown's mother's wedding ring, fuelling speculation that they could have been secretly married.