Victoria & Abdul, Week 4

Welcome to the last discussion of Victoria & Abdul!

In the beginning of chapter 11, Queen Victoria is about to celebrate her diamond jubilee. Her diamond jubilee marked the ten-year anniversary of her friendship with Karim. Isn't it interesting that he was able to stay with her for over 10 years, especially since he faced so much opposition?

Did you know that you can actually see video footage of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee procession? Watch the video below. It is understandably very choppy and uneven, but it's still interesting. And, just for fun, check out this article, which gives a picture of Queen Victoria's Diamond jubilee brooch. It's gorgeous!

Wasn't the section about Karim and the interview he gave to The Graphic really interesting? Because he was photographed looking at the camera, people assumed that he was asserting control over the Queen. This section was unsettling because it described so much drama and turmoil. The letters that everyone was writing to everyone else were just incredible. Queen Victoria seems like such a lonely person. She has so many people around her, but still, it seems like she didn't really know who to trust. It was frustrating that Karim would put her in that kind of position, just to get a little publicity. 

What did you think of the chapter about Queen Victoria's death? Did you catch the diagnosis that Dr. Reid gave her before her death? He said she had "periods of insomnia and mental confusion, brought on by damaged cerebral circulation after years of constant brain work through a long life of Royal responsibilities and Imperial events, domestic sorrows and anxieties specially in her later years." I've never heard of damaged cerebral circulation, have you? That was a very interesting diagnosis. I'm not quite sure if that would be a diagnosis that doctors would still make today.

King Edward VII, Queen Victoria's son, allowed Karim to walk in Victoria's funeral procession, but he ordered Karim to leave England almost immediately after her death. I was glad to read that he was able to live comfortably in India after he left England, but it was hard to read about the hardships and loneliness he experienced after his service to Queen Victoria. I thought the fact that Karim graciously welcomed Queen Victoria's grandson into his home, even though he had been incredibly mistreated by the royal family, really spoke to his character. I would have a hard time being kind to people who had been so prejudiced against me. I was really upset to read that people raided Karim's house after his death, looking for letters from Queen Victoria. It was incredibly disrespectful for them to intrude on the Karim's family's private grieving time. 

What did you think of the epilogue? Did it finish the story in a satisfactory way to you? Are you incredibly sad about how Karim's life ended and how his legacy has been remembered? 

What are your thoughts about the book? Did you enjoy learning more about Queen Victoria and Karim? Does it make you want to read more about the time period? 

I hope you'll leave your thoughts about this section and the entire book in the comments section. 

Queen Victoria was a major figure in British history, so there's plenty more to read or watch if you want to spend some more time with her. One recent series you may have enjoyed on PBS is the BBC's Victoria, which takes place during the first few years of her reign. Check it out if you're interested!

Make sure to join us again next month as we read A Wrinkle in Time. I hope to hear from you in the comments!