WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India
Dec 03, 2018, 04.02 PM
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new home has a curious India connection. In a statement issued by the Kensington Palace, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will now stay in Frogmore Cottage before the due date of the royal baby.
They will move out of the current west London home at Nottingham Cottage in Kensington Palace as soon as the renovation work on the new home gets completed.
Meanwhile, let’s talk about the Indian connection to the Frogmore Cottage as it was once gifted to an Indian by the Empress of India, Queen Victoria herself. The cottage was a royal gift to Abdul Karim by Queen Victoria, in recognition of his service and as a sign of her affection towards her Indian aide and confidant.
The British monarch referred to Abdul as her “Munshi”, who was just 24-year-old when he arrived in England from Agra to present Victoria with a special mohar, or gold coin, to mark her Golden Jubilee in 1887. He eventually became a close aide to the ageing monarch, who bestowed many gifts on him including Frogmore Cottage for his own use.
The film ‘Victoria & Abdul’ was made on this special relationship in 2017.
Talking about the relationship they shared, author of the book ‘Victoria and Abdul: The Extraordinary True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant’, on which the film is made said, “Queen Victoria gave it to Abdul Karim as a special gift. She would often visit the cottage and have tea with his wife and him. He had decorated the house with many exotic things, including presents given to him by European royalty.”
He added: “There is also a sad angle to the story. Hours after Queen Victoria’s funeral, the new king, Edward VII, ordered that all the letters written by his mother to Karim be seized from his house. They were burnt in a bonfire outside Frogmore Cottage and Abdul was ordered to return the home.”
He said, “His story is now well known in Britain and around the world. Despite Edward VII’s attempt to destroy the letters, Abdul could not be deleted from history.”