Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage
Princess Michael of Kent has prompted controversy by wearing a “racist” brooch to the Christmas lunch of the Queen at the Buckingham Palace. The lunch was also attended by Meghan Markle, the mixed-race fiancee of Prince Harry.
The princess, who is married to the cousin of the Queen, was photographed wearing a noticeable piece of “blackamoor” jewellery that was pinned to her coat as she arrived at the annual gathering of the royal family.
She is speculated to have already been introduced to Markle, who was attending her first such lunch after the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry was last month.
It is unclear if Princess Michael was still wearing the said brooch – which features a black man wearing a gold headdress – as she and Markle met. However, she was generally condemned for wearing the “blatantly racist” accessory to the Palace.
Blackamoor art is mostly made during the 18th century. It often represents dark-skinned Africans in subservient roles in figurines, sculptures, jewellery. Some people have suggested that the piece fetishises racial conquest.
A Twitter user wrote: “Apparently wearing slavery inspired brooches is the ultimate royal holiday tradition. Can’t believe she wore this for the Queen’s lunch.”
A second Twitter user stated: “As a Republican I find the behaviour of Princess Michael of Kent to be obnoxious, outrageous and offensive.”
While another added: “It’s hard to believe that wearing a blackamoor brooch by Princess Michael was not a deliberate insult to Meghan Markle at the Queen’s lunch.”
Markle’s father is white, and her mother is black. She has spoken about her own experience of racism during her youth. She also said that her racial identity had pointed to barriers in her acting career.
Markle stated: “I wasn’t black enough for the black roles and I wasn’t white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn’t book a job.”
The said brooch is not the first brush of Princess Michael with racial controversy. In 2004, she rejected allegations of telling a group of black New Yorkers to “go back to the colonies” because she felt that they were being rowdy in a restaurant.
A spokesperson for Princess Michael said that she was “very sorry and distressed for any offence caused.”
“The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before,” added the spokesperson.