Princess Michael of Kent apologises for wearing 'racist' broach to Queen's Christmas lunch attended by Meghan Markle

A spokesman for the princess says she was “very sorry and distressed” that it had caused offence

Henry Austin
Sunday 24 December 2017 10:41
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Princess Michael of Kent wearing the brooch
Princess Michael of Kent wearing the brooch

Princess Michael of Kent has apologised for wearing a “racist” broach to the Queen's Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace, that was also attended by Prince Harry's mixed-race fiancée Meghan Markle.

The princess, who is married to the Queen's cousin, was pictured wearing a prominent piece of "blackamoor" jewellery pinned to her coat as she arrived at the annual royal family gathering.

She is thought to have been introduced to Ms Markle, who was attending her first such lunch after her engagement to Harry was announced last month.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle reveal how Harry proposed

It is not clear if Princess Michael was still wearing the brooch - which depicts a black man in a gold headdress - as the two met.

But she was widely condemned for wearing the "blatantly racist" piece to the Palace.

A spokesman for the princess said she was “very sorry and distressed” that it had caused offence. They added that the brooch “was a gift and has been worn many times before.”

Blackamoor art, mostly sculptures, figurines and jewellery, often depicts dark-skinned Africans in subservient roles such as footmen or waiters.

Made mostly in the 18th century, some have suggested that it fetishises racial conquest.

The princess, who was born Baroness Marie-Christine von Reibnitz in the former Czechoslovakia, is married to the Queen's first cousin, Prince Michael of Kent. Her father was an SS officer.

After pictures emerged of her wearing the brooch, she was heavily criticised on social media.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady tweeted that Princess Michael's decision to wear the brooch was an "appalling show of disrespect and jealousy."

Another 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 third said said: "As a Republican I find the behaviour of Princess Michael of Kent to be obnoxious, outrageous and offensive."

It is not Princess Michael's first brush with racial controversy. In 2004, she denied telling a group of black New Yorkers to "go back to the colonies" because she felt they were being rowdy in a restaurant.

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