A United Kingdom

The true story of a love that shook an empire.

The kingdom in question is Botswana – or rather Bechuanaland, as it was known in the post-war years when its crown prince Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo, Selma) went to London to study, and fell in love with a white commoner Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike). Their subsequent marriage scandalized not just the tabloid-buying public but the British civil service, the tribespeople of Bechuanaland and the government of neighbouring South Africa, whose new apartheid laws enshrined separation of the races. 

Poster for the interracial-marriage drama A United KingdomA United Kingdom’s strongest sequences see Seretse exiled back to the U.K., as the post-war Labour government endeavours to take back control of a wayward protectorate and pacify the South Africans. The corrupt machinations of colonial rule are on display here, as Khama’s authority is betrayed time and again by a series of smarmy, upper-crust movers and shakers. Seretse exudes quiet dignity but he can belt out a rousing speech when he has to, and Ruth goes from shrinking violet to jeep-driving, baby-swaddling, authority-baiting queen of the veldt. 

Belle director Amma Asante’s tribute to this unlikely couple is a story of forbidden romance and political intrigue which is never less than entertaining, and at times genuinely moving.

– Tom Huddleston, Time Out

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