Queen Victoria and her servant Abdul Karim , "the Munshi", 1885 (inset photo added)
From "Often amused", a review by Dinah Birch, in the TLS for December 19-26, 2014, of Victoria: A Life, by A.N. Wilson:
Servants also supplied her emotional needs. Wilson handles the delicate question of her relations with the Scottish ghillie John Brown with careful tact. Victoria's family, and those who tried to manage her image (never a straightforward task), were appalled by the unseemly closeness that developed between the lonely Queen and her forthright servant. Brown was a threat to the respectability of the Crown. But he was what the Queen needed. His affection was utterly dependable and authentic, and he was not afraid of her. Dismissing the warnings of her advisers, Victoria reciprocated with her own devotion. His death did not hit her as hard as that of Albert, but it renewed her sense of loss and solitude. Her final favourite, an Indian servant she knew as the Munshi, went some way to filling Brown's place. An outsider in the court, as Brown had been, the Munshi owed his position to Victoria's partiality. He responded with fidelity of the kind that his Queen could lean on, and she rewarded him with a gratitude that some found yet more alarming than her earlier reliance on Brown.
These eccentric relationships reveal Victoria's susceptibilities, and also her strengths. She was self-willed to an extent that would sometimes put her own public position at risk, but she was not a cold or calculating woman, and finally she valued personal warmth more than political advantage. She was never snobbish, or racist. She was not in the least troubled by the facts, scandalizing to many in her circle, that Brown was not a gentleman, and the Munshi was an Indian. She was the Queen, and she made her own decisions. Her power arose from an arbitrary accident of birth, rather than any special accomplishments. But for Britain, the chance turned out to be a lucky one. With all her faults and follies, she was a magnificent monarch.