Exhibition brings to life unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria, Indian servant

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-07-24 09:19

LONDON - The unlikely friendship between Britain's widowed Queen Victoria and a clerk from India will be brought to life Monday at an exhibition opening on the Isle of Wight.

It will give visitors to Osborne House, Victoria's holiday retreat on the island off England's south coast, a rare glimpse of an episode in the monarch's life.

English Heritage, Britain's main cultural agency, outlined Sunday its plans for the exhibition at Osborne.

Costumes from the upcoming film "Victoria & Abdul" will go on show for the first time at Osborne from Monday.

The film, to be released in British cinemas on Sept 15, was largely shot at Osborne. It tells the story of the unexpected friendship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant Abdul Karim in the later years of her reign.

The costumes were designed by Oscar nominated designer Consolata Boyle who worked on The Queen (2006), The Iron Lady (2011) and Florence Foster Jenkins (2016). Her designs pay meticulous attention to historical detail.

Costumes in the exhibition include formal and informal attire worn in the film by celebrated British Judi Dench, such as the exquisite black silk gown with gold front piece Victoria wears while waiting for Karim's return to Osborne.

The striking outfits worn by Ali Fazal as Abdul Karim include the faithfully recreated scarlet and gold livery with a peacock blue striped silk turban.

The exhibition will continue until Sept 30.

English Heritage Curator at Osborne, Michael Hunter, said: "Osborne was Queen Victoria's private family home which means visitors can step straight into Queen Victoria's world when they get here."

"Victoria & Abdul is the first film to ever use the interiors of Osborne as a location and these costumes add an extra layer to the rich experience of a visit here."

Victoria and Abdul forged an unlikely and devoted alliance that the royal household and Victoria's inner circle tried to destroy.

Shrabani Basu, who wrote and researched the remarkable story, said Abdul died a broken man a few years after being banished from England after Victoria's death in 1901.

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