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Royal member’s racist shade at Meghan Markle with Blackamoor jewelry

Royal member's racist shade at Meghan Markle with Blackamoor jewelry
Young Negro with a Bow by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1659–1743) (Image Source: The Bridgeman Art Library -Public Domain)

There was a moment of what some are calling racism at the recent Queen’s Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace. The event was attended by Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle, who has become well-liked among the British population. For some, however, the fact that she is biracial has caused bigoted and insensitive behavior to be exhibited. On the occasion of the lunch, this behavior was displayed by a minor Royal family member who is married to a cousin of the Queen. She is known as Princess Michael of Kent and apparently, she decided to wear a pin known as Blackamoor jewelry.

Blackamoor is an insulting term that goes back to the 1500s to describe a dark-skinned person from Africa. In the year 1596, Queen Elizabeth I tried to expel Black people from England and issued an “open letter” to the Lord Mayor of London. In the essay “Too Many Blackamoors: Deportation, Discrimination, and Elizabeth I” by Emily C. Bartels the letter is described as such:

“The royal letter stated that ‘There are of late divers blackamoors brought into this realm, of which kind of people there are already here to many,” and ordering that they be deported from the country.  One week later, she reiterated her “good pleasure to have those kind of people sent out of the land ” and commissioned the merchant Casper van Senden to “take up” certain “blackamoors here in this realm and to transport them into Spain and Portugal.  Finally, in 1601, she complained again about the “great numbers of Negars and Blackamoors which (as she is informed) are crept into this realm,” defamed them as “infidels, having no understanding of Christ or his Gospel,” and, one last time authorized their deportation.”

Images of turbaned Blacks, some regal and some with exaggerated features, were common in England and other parts of Europe, especially during the 17th century. The Black population of Europe was diverse and could be seen in all sections of culture. Even famed composer Ludwig Von Beethoven was thought to be Black. It is a historical fact that Andre de Hevesy says, “Everybody knows the incident at Kismarton or Eisenstadt, the residence of Prince Esterhazy. In the middle of the first allegro of Haydn’s symphony, His Highness asked the name of the author. He was brought forward. ”What!’ exclaimed the Prince,’ the music is by this Blackamoor? ‘Well, my fine Blackamoor, henceforward, thou art in my service.'” referring to Beethoven.

Princess Michael of Kent is now being blasted as ignorant and racist with many saying she knew exactly what she was doing by wearing such an offensive brooch. It is the equivalent of someone wearing Aunt Jemima or minstrel show themed jewelry to a formal event with former President Barack Obama. Definitely not suitable to wear in front of the biracial fiancée of a Prince of England.

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