Hop House, The George, Eton 7.30pm
Abdul Karim was just twenty-four years old when he arrived in England from Agra to wait at tables during Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, and suddenly found himself a personal attendant to the Empress of India herself. Within a year, he was established as a powerful figure at court, becoming the queen's teacher or Munshi, and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs. Her relationship with the Munshi, however, led to a near revolt in the royal household.
Maharajah Duleep Singh was the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire. He was exiled to England in 1849 , having been removed from his kingdom by the British East India Company. Eventually taken to England and presented to the Queen. Victoria and Albert became fond him, even taking Duleep along on family trips to Osborne House where he was said to be great friends with the other royal children. Often painted by the Queen, she called Duleep her 'beautiful boy'.
Shrabani Basu is a London-based journalist and historian. She is the founder and chair of the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust. Shrabani has appeared in several television and radio programmes, and is the author of For King and Another Country, Indian Soldiers on the Western Front 1914-18, Victoria & Abdul, The Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant, Spy Princess, The Life of Noor Inayat Khan,. Her book Victoria & Abdul is set to be made into a major British film and is due for release in September 2017.
Essie Fox is an English Literature graduate from Sheffield University, who spent more than twenty years as a freelance commercial artist. Since 2011, she has been writing novels, with her first three set in the Victorian period, and filled with magic and mystery. The Last Days of Leda Grey, is her fourth and latest novel. Online Esses blogs as The Virtual Victorian.