Victoria & Abdul (2017) Poster

Judi Dench: Queen Victoria



  • Queen Victoria : Everyone I love has died and I just go on and on. What is the point?

    Abdul Karim : Service, Your Majesty. We are here for a greater purpose.

  • Queen Victoria : 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 11 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.

  • Queen Victoria : I am cantankerous, greedy, fat, I am perhaps disagreeably attached to power, but I am anything but insane!

  • Queen Victoria : 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.

    [silence, as Queen Victoria sees that no one in the household is willing to resign] 

    Queen Victoria : Hmm. 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.

  • [as Queen Victoria reaches for her stamp, Abdul grabs it for her instead] 

    Queen Victoria : Thank you, Mr...

    Abdul Karim : Abdul. Abdul Karim.

    [Queen Victoria continues to write her letters] 

    Abdul Karim : I am always writing.

    [Queen Victoria looks at him] 

    Abdul Karim : In India, I'm writing, a-all day, every day.

    Queen Victoria : So in India, you are not a servant?

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

    Queen Victoria : You're writing a book?

    Abdul Karim : 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.

    Queen Victoria : And this is fiction?

    Abdul Karim : No. It is the very truth.

    Queen Victoria : I don't understand. If you are an author, why are you here, uh, presenting me with the m... uh, with the m...

    Abdul Karim : Mo-Mohur.

    [Queen Victoria nods] 

    Abdul Karim : It is my humble privilege to serve Her Majesty.

    [Queen Victoria smiles, then continues to write her letters] 

    Abdul Karim : I was the one who chose your carpets.

    Queen Victoria : Carpets?

    Abdul Karim : Yes. The Viceroy asked Mr. Tyler, sir, but actually, it was me. Y-you have to have a very good eye for the carpets. Uh, like...

    [walks to the carpet in front of the desk] 

    Abdul Karim : This is a very nice one, for example. Very, very tight knots. The art of carpets, uh, came to India from Persia with the great Emperor Akbar. The s-skill of a carpet is to bring all the different kinds of threads together and weave something we can all stand on.

    Queen Victoria : You seem to know a great deal about it.

    Abdul Karim : 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.

    Queen Victoria : That is a very beautiful image.

    Abdul Karim : Look. Here is the bird of freedom, caught forever in the design.

    Queen Victoria : So, in India, you are a poet?

    Abdul Karim : No. In India, I make a ledger of the prisoners.

    Queen Victoria : We are all prisoners, Mr. Karim.

  • Sir Henry Ponsonby : To celebrate the completion of the Durbar Room, a little surprise, Your Majesty.

    [Queen Victoria is presented with a mango in a box] 

    Queen Victoria : What is it?

    Sir Henry Ponsonby : A mango, Your Majesty.

    Abdul Karim : One moment, Your Majesty.

    [Abdul looks at the mango and presses it, some juice sticking to his finger] 

    Abdul Karim : Uh, it-it's... off.

    Queen Victoria : Sir Henry, this mango is off.

    [servant closes the mango box and backs away] 

    Sir Henry Ponsonby : I-I'm terribly sorry, Your Majesty.

  • Sir Henry Ponsonby : 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 Oojay. Garden party where Her Majesty will receive Oscar II, King of Sweden and Norway, again, and Queen Liliuokalani.

    Queen Victoria : Who on Earth is she?

    Sir Henry Ponsonby : A monarch and, uh, sole Queen Regnant of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Your Majesty. Uh, she has composed a song for you on the ukulele. Uh, 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.

    Dr. Reid : And your movements, Your Majesty?

    Queen Victoria : Nothing to speak of, Dr. Reid.

    Dr. Reid : Not even during the day?

    Queen Victoria : We last moved on Sunday evening.

    Dr. Reid : I fear the celebratory dinners are taking their toll, Your Majesty. Might I suggest some Benger's mixture?

    Queen Victoria : I refuse to eat Benger's. It's baby food.

    Dr. Reid : But it is imperative, Your Majesty, that the Royal Colon receives a little roughage.

    Queen Victoria : Anything else?

    Sir Henry Ponsonby : Um, now, was Your Majesty pleased with the mohur?

    Queen Victoria : What?

    Sir Henry Ponsonby : With the mohur, the ceremonial coin. Uh, presented by the two Indian servants.

    Queen Victoria : I thought the tall one was terribly handsome.

See also

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