Princess Michael of Kent has apologised for wearing a brooch depicting the bust of an African man to a lunch attended by equality advocate and future princess Meghan Markle after it was deemed “racist” by many on social media.
Spokesman Simon Astaire said the princess was “very sorry and distressed that it caused offence” after wearing the ‘blackamoor’ brooch to a Christmas banquet at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.
“The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before,” the spokesman added
Blackamoor figures and sculptures are exotic figures, which often depict African men, images of servants or slaves and were prominent in European art in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The controversial jewellery choice had been chosen for the royal family’s traditional Christmas lunch, with Prince Harry and his fiancé Meghan Markle, who is half-black, in attendance.
The event was thought to be the first time Meghan has had a lunch with the extended royal family at the palace, offering an opportunity for her to meet Harry’s more distant relatives.
More than 50 royal family members, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and Queen Elizabeth attended the event.
Upon seeing photos of the annual occasion, many took to social media to criticise the Queen’s first cousin’s taste in jewellery.
“Has no one noticed the blackamoor pin that Princess Michael of Kent is wearing? Really? Meghan Markle officially meets the family and is greeted by THIS?” one social media user said.
Another said: “I think it’s pretty tacky that Princess Michael of Kent decided to wear a blackamoor brooch to this engagement.”
Apparently wearing slavery inspired brooches is the ultimate royal holiday tradition in the colonies where Princess Michael of Kent is so keen in the telling black people to go back to. Cant believe she wore this for the Queen’s lunch first time meeting #MeghanMarkle. #racism?🤔 pic.twitter.com/IfQZdO8YEI
— Style Me Royal (@Style_Me_Royal) December 21, 2017
Meghan, a 36 year-old American TV actress, describes herself as “biracial”.
“My dad is Caucasian and my mom is African American. I’m half black and half white,” she wrote in an essay for Elle UK in 2016.
“To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear.
“In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating.”
The photo of Princess Michael of Kent’s brooch has rivalled a series of engagement photos of Prince Harry and Meghan released this week.
New York-based fashion photographer Alex Lubomirski, famous for his photos of Harry’s mother Princess Diana, took pictures of the couple at the royal retreat of Frogmore House in Windsor, where the couple are due to marry on May 19.
It is understood Princess Michael will not wear the brooch in future.