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Judi Dench Captures Queen Victoria’s Loneliness and Grief in Exclusive Victoria and Abdul Clip

Victoria and Abdul tells a phenomenal story about Queen Victoria at the end of her life. In this clip of Victoria bringing Abdul Karim to a highland cottage, the same one she spent with her Scottish ghillie John Brown, we see a Queen far removed from the regal ceremonies and pageantry of the throne.

While historian Shrabani Basu says it’s unlikely they were ever lovers, the closeness between these two did raise some eyebrows and one character even refers to Karim as the “brown Mr. Brown.” However, in this clip, we see that what Karim did for Victoria was far more emotional as she struggled to find a reason to live on. Somehow, this man 40-or-so years younger, from a lower class and wildly different world, is able to connect with her in a way no one else could.

I wrote about how this dynamic struggles to capture the complexities of nation, but in this powerful scene that imagines the monarch’s private world, Judi Dench (who also played Victoria in Mrs. Brown) is absolutely incredible. She talks about the pain of aging and living on as those she loved, John Brown and Prince Albert, live only in her memory. She detests her children. Her body is failing her. She’s hated by millions of people. In lesser talent, this scene of “No one knows what it’s really like to be Queen” might not garner sympathy, but Dench gives this intimate moment the emotional weight it needs, especially contrasted with the bored Queen we see in the opening scenes, constantly surrounded by people.

Victoria and Abdul comes to theaters in New York and LA the 22nd.

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