In last year's film "Victoria and Abdul," we see Queen Victoria's Indian manservant describing to her the delights of his homeland's mangoes, "the Queen of Fruits." Intrigued, the world's most powerful person immediately requisitions some. The fruit arrives, an offering from a subject subcontinent, and is presented in a velvet-lined box by two liveried staff. The Queen looks uncertainly to Abdul, who turns, disappointed, to his employer.
"This mango is off."
"Henry," the Queen exclaims to the attendant, "this mango is off!"
As it was bound to be. The mango is one of the few things in this world even more high-maintenance than monarchs. As then, so now: The great redeemer of South Asia's long, sweltering summer is a reluctant, tetchy traveler. (Source: WSJ)
My guess is this phrase means that "as it was case then, hence the case now". However, I can't find a dictionary definition or evidence that this is a phrase in popular use. What does it mean exactly here? Is this a case of artistic license of the author?