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Prince Harry, Meghan Markle's new home has an Indian connection

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Cottage on Elizabeth II's estate in the town of Windsor, which was recently announced as the new home of and Markle, has a curious Raj era connect with

The cottage had been a royal gift to by Victoria, then of India, in recognition of his service and as a sign of her affection towards her Indian and confidant.

Karim, whom the monarch referred to as her "Munshi", was just 24 when he arrived in England from to present with a special mohar, or gold coin, to mark her Golden Jubilee in 1887.

He quickly grew close to the ageing monarch, who bestowed many gifts on him including Cottage for his own use.

"gave it to 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," said Shrabani Basu, the of and Abdul: The Extraordinary True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant'.

"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 Cottage and Abdul was ordered to return the home," said Basu, whose book formed the basis of the Oscar-nominated film Victoria and Abdul' last year, starring British Dame as Victoria and Indian as Abdul.

Basu had stumbled upon the rare friendship during her research and then followed it up with a visit to Castle and asked to look at Queen Victoria's Hindustani journals a collection of note-books filled with the monarch's handwriting practicing Urdu with her "Munshi" Karim.

"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," adds the

had confirmed last month that the newly-wed Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who are expecting their first child in the spring of 2019, are set to move out of their west home at in before the due date and make the 10-bedroom their family home.

"is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate. The Duke and Duchess office will continue to be based at Kensington Palace," a for the couple said.

cottage, which has been a favourite royal retreat for many years, will undergo a multi-million-pound refit for the new family.

It is set within the peaceful and secluded Frogmore House estate, near Castle, surrounded by 35 acres of lush green countryside.

The estate has its own man-made lake, Frogmore Lake, and is home to the Royal Burial Ground and the and

and are expected to move in to their home as soon as the renovations are completed next year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, December 02 2018. 10:15 IST