Written by Oscar Wilde for his friend Mabel Cosgrove in 1894, For the Love of the King wasn’t published until 1926 when Mrs Cosgrove handed the manuscript along with a covering letter to Wilde’s posthumous publisher Methuen. The publication resulted in a trial when Methuen was sued by Wilde biographer Christopher Millard who was convinced the play and accompanying letters were forgeries and that the publisher was committing a fraud.
Although For the Love of the King is in essence a play, in truth it is but a setting with a few added lines. The plot concerns the love of Shah Mah Phru, a beautiful girl, half Italian, half Burmese, for King Meng Geng, and ultimately the extents she will go to for the sake of that love. What marks this play out is less the plot than the settings, perhaps the most elegant of Wilde’s imaginings.