Victoria & Abdul filmed at Knebworth House

PUBLISHED: 14:12 07 September 2017 | UPDATED: 14:48 07 September 2017

Ali Fazal and Dame Judi Dench arriving  at the UK premiere of Victoria & Abdul at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

Ali Fazal and Dame Judi Dench arriving at the UK premiere of Victoria & Abdul at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

Scenes of the new Dame Judi Dench movie Victoria & Abdul were filmed in Knebworth.

Directed by Stephen Frears and starring 82-year-old Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, Victoria & Abdul officially opens in UK cinemas on Friday, September 15.

The film tells the true story of the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria and young Indian servant Abdul Karim.

And Knebworth House is featured in the movie, with the Hertfordshire stately home doubling as the interior of Balmoral.

This is the third time Knebworth House has “played” Balmoral on screen after Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech and Netflix TV hit The Crown.

Knebworth House’s Henry and Martha Lytton Cobbold attended the London premiere of the film in Leicester Square on Tuesday night – the day of their 30th wedding anniversary.

Afterwards, Henry Lytton Cobbold tweeted: “Thanks to Working Title for the perfect 30th Anniversary night – the premiere of the beautiful “Victoria & Abdul”, starring Knebworth House”

From the acclaimed director of The Queen and Philomena, which also starred Judi Dench, the films tells the extraordinary story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s remarkable rule.

When young clerk Abdul Karim, played by Bollywood star Ali Fazal, travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favour with the Queen herself.

Director Stephen Frears, Dame Judi Dench, Ali Fazal and Eddie Izzard arriving  at the UK premiere of Victoria & Abdul at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire Director Stephen Frears, Dame Judi Dench, Ali Fazal and Eddie Izzard arriving at the UK premiere of Victoria & Abdul at the Odeon, Leicester Square, London. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that her household and inner circle all attempt to destroy.

As the friendship deepens, Queen Victoria begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.

As well as Judi Dench, who played M in eight James Bond movies, the film also stars comedian and actor Eddie Izzard as Bertie, Prince of Wales, who is crowned King Edward VII on Victoria’s death, and Michael Gambon as Lord Salisbury.

The cast also includes the late Tim Pigott-Smith as Sir Henry Ponsonby, The Halcyon’s Olivia Williams as Baroness Churchill and Simon Callow.

Judi Dench’s performance as Queen Victoria is already receiving rave reviews and she is tipped for an Oscar nomination.

This is the second time she has played Queen Victoria after 1997 movie Mrs Brown, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role.

She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love, scenes of which were shot at Hatfield House.

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