Princess Michael of Kent has been forced to apologise for wearing an allegedly ‘racist’ Blackamoor brooch to a lunch attended by Meghan Markle.
The 72-year-old princess was photographed wearing the vintage jewellery, which depicts the bust of a stylised black male, on her way to a Christmas lunch hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Sensitive social media users leapt to accuse her of racism, with some going so far as to suggest the brooch was intended as a slight to Prince Harry’s new fiancée Meghan Markle, who is mixed race.
“The brooch was a gift and has been worn many times before,” said a spokesman for the minor royal.
“Princess Michael is very sorry and distressed that it has caused offence.”
Royal Wedding: Prince Harry and American Actress Meghan Markle Announce Engagement https://t.co/0uzIOH3slC
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While Miss Markle has been embraced enthusiastically by the British press, Princess Michael — who became a member of the Royal Family when she married a cousin of the Queen — has lamented that she, as a foreigner herself, was never accepted by them.
“I have different ways of saying things and doing things,” said the princess, who was born Marie-Christine von Reibnitz to German and Hungarian parents.
She has been accused of ‘racism’ before, following a misheard discussion in a New York diner. She strongly denied the allegations against her, citing her extensive travels in Africa — but was pounced upon for using language deemed not sufficiently politically correct for the mainstream media’s tastes.
“I even pretended years ago to be an African, a half-caste African, but because of my light eyes I did not get away with it, but I dyed my hair black,” she said.
“I travelled on African buses. I wanted to be a writer. I wanted experiences from Cape Town to right up in northern Mozambique. I had this adventure with these absolutely adorable, special people and to call me racist: it’s a knife through the heart because I really love these people.”
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Blackamoor jewellery is still made in Venice, Italy, where it was popular during the early modern period, and Blackamoor figures can be found throughout the Italian city.