“A United Kingdom” is based on outstanding real events. In 1947, Seretse Khama, the King of Botswana, met Ruth Williams, a London office worker. The fascination was immediate: she was interested in his vision for a better world, he was struck by her willingness to embrace it.
Both experienced liberated by the social upheaval that followed the war – Seretse sensed the chance for change as the Empire weakened, Ruth saw the possibility for a “bigger life” as women forced for freedom and equal rights.
They were a ideal match, yet their proposed marriage was challenged not only by their family members but by the British and South African governments. The latter had recently introduced the policy of apartheid and found the idea of a biracial couple ruling a nearby country intolerable. South Africa threatened the British: either thwart the couple or be declined access to South African uranium (vital for the British nuclear program) and gold (vital to replenish reserves following the war) and face the risk of South Africa invading Botswana.
Despite the dreadful pressures they experienced, Seretse and Ruth never wavered – they battled for their love every step of the way, and in so doing changed their country and inspired the world.