A United Kingdom

Synopsis: In the late 1940s, Prince Seretse Khama of Bechuanaland is studying law in Britain in preparation for his eventual ascension to the throne. There, the dashing prince falls in love with a white British clerk, Ruth Williams, and they plan to marry. While they suspect that his uncle, the Regent, would disapprove, nothing prepares them for the diplomatic firestorm and domestic political tumult their defiant love would spark. Now facing a citizenry leery of a white Briton as their Queen, the international opposition is even more unyielding from the British holding their land as a protectorate and fearful of South Africa's racist backlash to this affront to their apartheid domination. Against all odds, King Khama and Ruth must struggle to maintain their love and help their people in a land that would become the Republic of Botswana.
Director(s): Amma Asante
Production: Harbinger Pictures
  1 win & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
111 min


'My dear nephew...

'...as your uncle and guardian,

'my task is to inform you

'that is now time for you

to return home to Bechuanaland.

'To use the knowledge that you have

gained from your time in England

'to ensure the advancement of our people,

'our nation.

'You left a boy,

now you must return a man.

'Arrangements have begun.

'I am filled with joy

for our reunion and our future.




Seretse, are you okay? Teach him a lesson.


- You monkey!



You didn't see that coming.

- That was not a fair fight.

- You were too predictable.

Come on. We'll be late for class.

# I'm going nowhere, getting no place

# Making no time with nobody

# No, baby

# Nobody, but you...

Can you draw up my dress?

I saw Teddy at the bus stop.

He's been so down,

since you ended it with him.

Oh, well, he knows it's for the best.

We wanted different things.

Is that what you're wearing tonight?

Muriel, I can't go

to the Missionary Society dance.

- They're your friends, not mine.

- Oh, come on.

TV :
'Indians will go to their beds

as subjects of the Queen,

'and awake to a new day.'

The next day they'll awake to wish

we were running the place again.



- See you later.

- Are you going, Ruth?

- Yes, Dad.

- What for?

She's keeping me company.

- Well, mind yourselves.

- Hmm, don't come back a missionary.



Ah, Muriel! Thank you.

We are a little short this evening.

Oh, I've brought my sister, Ruth.

How nice of you to come.


- Would you like to dance with me?

- Of course, Ade.

MAN 2 :
It would never happen. It's futile.


- So, there'll be bloodshed.

A fight doesn't always

have to be about violence.

Understand the imperialist mind,

and you can outmanoeuvre it.

Isn't that why we are all here?

There is an Africa that doesn't have

to be about white or black exclusion.

An Africa that is about

unity, inclusion and equality.

MAN 2 :
That's the original idealist!


Would you like to dance?

Thank you very much.


What's this song supposed to be?

I don't know,

but they are utterly butchering it.

I've been trying to work out the melody

since they began.

(CHUCKLES) Sorry. I...

I do love jazz, but I've never trusted

an Englishman to play it.


Would you like to dance?

Rather lively, wasn't it?

It was good fun. Where's he from?

Oh, everybody adores Seretse.

He's over from Bechuanaland.

- What's he studying?

- Law. Like the rest.


Just looking at this claim. A small error,

if you could just do it again...



Oh, there's a parcel for you over there.

Who is Mr Khama?

Oh, my goodness.

# I'm gone buzzin'...


He's invited me to a dance.

He says he can get another ticket

if you'd like to take me.

I wouldn't like to take you.




I haven't danced like that

since I left home.

Well, then I'm so pleased

we're doing this.

I'm so pleased to have agreed to come to

a dance with a man I know nothing about!


Who are you, Mr Khama?

Well, I, uh...

I grew up with my little sister, Naledi.

Our mother and father died

when... I was three.

Oh, that's...

Oh, no, no, no.

We, we were raised by my uncle.

He's like a father to us.

We've been very fortunate.

How about you? If I...

If I were to ask you to tell me something

about you I couldn't possibly guess?

We were evacuated to the countryside,

Muriel and I,

but I couldn't bear the boredom.

So I asked them

to take me at Friston, the airfield.

I drove the crash ambulance for them.

Ferrying the injured fighter pilots.


I looked it up, you know, your country.

The size of France

and 121,000 inhabitants.

And one of the poorest countries

in the world.

Is that right?

We asked for the protection

of Queen Victoria.

And she agreed. Eventually.

It was that, or face invasion

from a racialist South Africa.

- RUTH :
Sounds like no choice at all.

- What is the saying?

"No man is free,

who is not master of himself."

I wish we could see the stars.

They take your breath away

back in Bechuanaland.

It never fails to astonish me.


- You are cold.


We should stop here.

My father, he wouldn't approve.

I'm just two streets away.

Can we do this again?

I mean, meet?

Is that too forward of me?


- No, it...

- What?

Queen Victoria...

The man who negotiated for

her protection of Bechuanaland...

he was my grandfather.

A king.

I am his heir.

For more than 20 years, my uncle

has been on the throne as regent

preparing me to rule.

My education is now complete,

and it is time for me to return.

Oh. I see.

Thank you. Thank you for explaining.

Not simply disappearing.

I quite understand.

I have had a wonderful evening.


No, I-I-I don't think you do understand.

I don't know what happened tonight.

But I do know that I would hate to walk

away from you here in this moment,

knowing that I wouldn't see you again.

Well, then you must.

See me again, I mean.



Uh, Mr Khama?

Thank you.


Father will hate him on sight.

He's clever than him and he's black.

- Oh!

- Yes, yes, yes!


Have you ever been in love?


And then Ruth Williams came along.

Look, it's a coon.

Out of the zoo for a night.

- Scum!

- Ignore him.

Look who's talking! Cheap slut!

- That's enough.

- Yeah?

- Seretse...

- Don't!

- Ruth...

- Oi! Get your black hands off what's ours!

I'm not yours!


Stop it! Get off him.


Black bastard!

- Move back!



Oh, Ruth.

They're yobs.

You can't let them get to you.

No, I'm not even giving them

a second thought.

Then what is it?

It scares me a bit.

The way he makes me feel.

Ruth, he has to go back

to his own country.

I know.

Just let me enjoy it while it lasts.

- Am I late?

- No. No, not at all.

Is something the matter?

I have been... thinking

about my responsibilities

back home in Bechuanaland.

There is so much that I need to do there.

But I know that I will never

achieve anything worthwhile...

...if I leave my heart here.

Uh, I'm not asking for an answer

this, this very second.

All I, all I ask of you is that you...

...go away and, and think about it,

because, uh, there...

there is a lot to think about.


I don't need to think about it.

I know I love you.

And I know what you're asking.

What it means.

And yes.


Yes, Seretse, I will marry you.

White? British? Oh, God.

And she's a salesman's daughter!

I don't care if her mother sells fish

in the market! I love her!

Aren't you supposed

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Guy Hibbert

Guy Hibbert is an award-winning British screenwriter. He has won 4 Bafta awards. He wrote the 2009 film Five Minutes of Heaven. This film was premiered at the 25th Sundance Film Festival, where Hibbert won the World Cinema Screenwriting Award. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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