When Meghan Markle attended the Queen's Christmas luncheon yesterday at Buckingham Palace, she joined about 50 members of the royal family at the gathering, from Prince William and Kate Middleton, to Prince Harry's cousins Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice. And while the former actress mingled with extended members of her fiancé's family, not all first impressions were pleasant.
Princess Michael of Kent—wife of Prince Michael of Kent, Queen Elizabeth II's first cousin—was spotted wearing a racially offensive brooch on her coat while arriving to the palace with her husband. The accessory is a piece of blackamoor jewelry, which fetishize images of slavery.
Some European renditions of blackamoor art depicted black figures as noblemen, but they still exoticize people of color and are considered dated, racially insensitive, and even taboo today. Dolce & Gabbana caused an uproar in 2012 when it included blackamoor heads on a pair of earrings and on fabric prints in its Spring 2013 collection.
It's unclear whether the princess realized her brooch made an offensive statement or if hers was a clueless decision to wear the tone-deaf accessory. It would be easier to look the other way if the princess didn't have history of racial insensitivity—but she unfortunately does. In 2004, she reportedly told a group of black customers in a West Village, NYC restaurant to "go back to the colonies" after she complained that they were being noisy.
A few months later, the princess denied making any racial slur at the restaurant, but defended herself with even more tone-deaf comments. "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 in an ITV interview. The princess added of her trip to Africa, "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."
Eagle-eyed royal fans also noticed the brooch and called out the royal for wearing it at the luncheon.
ah, the Princess who wears *racist jewelry* to lunch with Meghan Markle. RACIST. JEWELRY. https://t.co/pUEqDarkqN— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) December 21, 2017
Has no one noticed the Blackmoore pin that Princess Michael of Kent is wearing? Really? #MeghanMarkle offically meets the family and is greeted by THIS? #racism #BritishRoyals pic.twitter.com/o0BiaxdR9n— girl_ninja???????? ????? (@girl_ninja) December 21, 2017
Princess Michael of Kent appears to have officially turned into a parody of herself as she attends The Queen's Christmas Party wearing a blackamoor brooch. pic.twitter.com/seOFhx1th7— Charlie Proctor (@MonarchyUK) December 21, 2017
Blackamoor brooches have a very long history, but that doesn't mean you have to wear them - especially when you're meeting a new, biracial member of the family. But we can never underestimate the profound assholery of Princess Michael of Kent https://t.co/UaXwNQDApe— Monica McLaughlin (@rococopacetic) December 21, 2017
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
Last November, when Kensington Palace publicly confirmed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were dating, he issued a statement condemning "the racial undertones of comment pieces; and the outright sexism and racism of social media trolls and web article comments" about his now-fiancée. Princess Michael of Kent might want to give that letter a close read.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors