Meghan Markle has been welcomed into Britain's Royal family by many who regard her as the first black or mixed-race member. Once upon a time, virtually every country in the western world had some sort of king and royal family. Those Blacks that were not killed were expelled, and scattered throughout the Americas: mostly as Slaves, but sometimes as Indentures, and mostly in the Caribbean and North America. In 2020, the royal family's silence over the Black Lives Matter movement did not go unnoticed, and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey has once again brought to the fore the topic of racism in the monarchy. When Prince Harry announced his engagement to actress Meghan Markle, the world rejoiced—and immediately began to analyze what it will mean for a biracial woman to take a prominent place as a British royal. It’s perhaps the idea of marrying a handsome prince and becoming part of the so-called royalty that makes everyone forget about past deeds that make the British royal family…well, not so great. Soon almost all of them were imprisoned at Portchester Castle. In 1564 Queen Elizabeth I even contributed a vessel to Hawkins, the first known Englishman to include enslaved Africans as cargo. Charlotte’s race—real or imagined—“inserts blackness into the heart of British femininity, beauty, and identity,”writes Paul Youngquist, a scholar who researches the portrayal of Africa in the British Romantic era. Current Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II, has never publicly acknowledged her ancestor's actions. Royal Report: 6 Regal Black Women from Around the World As the international community puts its focus on the royal wedding between Britain's Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the question arises of whether there exists black royalty today other than Disney's Princess Tiana. "The fact that she has not done so shows a lack of remorse, an unwillingness to face up to past injustices, and a lack of commitment to a multiracial Britain.". Black people have been living in Britain since at least Roman times. One of the most striking revelations from the interview, however, was that a member of the royal family expressed "concerns" over how dark Harry and Markle's children's skin would be. When Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle announced their engagement Monday, Twitter erupted with the news that the newest princess in the royal family would be biracial. Our Royal Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and announcements about the British royal family, direct from Insider's royal reporters. Free shipping on many items | Browse your favorite brands | affordable prices. A fascinating look at the history and the lineage of the British royal family. See more Black princesses, queens and more. Human rights activist and journalist Peter Tatchell said that Her Majesty shows "an unwillingness to face up to past injustices" by staying silent. Although there has been debate over the specific reasons Markle chose to leave the royal family — and the UK — behind, many experts believed it was at least partly to do with the racist treatment the duchess suffered at the hands of the British tabloids. "It's not enough for the son of the monarch to apologize. "It was a poor choice of costume and I apologize," Harry said at the time, according to The New York Times. Markle, whose mother is African-American and whose father is white, was celebrated by some as Britain’s first “black princess,” a milestone for a royal family that had presided over centuries of slavery and colonialism. The prince issued another apology four years later, saying he was "extremely sorry" for using a racial slur to address his friend in a military training video. Status. During her reign as Queen Consort, Charlotte was mocked for her looks and described as having “a true Mulatto face.” Sir Walter Scottwrote that Charlotte’s family was filled with “ill-colored, orang-outang looking figures,” and during her coronation ceremony her relationship to “the warlike Vandal race”—an ancient Germanic tribe that lived in North Africa—wassaid to be preserved in her appearance. Queen Charlotte with two of her sons. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, un… In 2019 the Duke of Cambridge spoke about racism in soccer, saying he was "fed up" and "bored of it," according to The Guardian. In 2017, Princess Michael of Kent made a public apology after she was accused of wearing a racist brooch to lunch with Meghan Markle. Indeed, Markle may not actually be the first black member of the British monarchy. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. In addition, the idea that Meghan Markle’s black ancestry is a representation of “progress” is extremely naive, for all the … In 1999,reportsThe Washington Post, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said that “This has been rumored for years and years. It wasn't until Markle left the royal family that she admitted she felt "unprotected" by the royal family's press team, who reportedly prohibited her from defending herself against the media. However, they could have shown their support through engaging with anti-racism charities or by making a statement in favor of equality — something that wouldn't have required specifically naming BLM. Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images. "As Desmond Tutu famously said: 'If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.'". Harry had himself released a statement addressing the issue right at the start of the couple's relationship in 2016. But these incidents aren't just historical — royal family members have been ignoring accusations of racism since as recently as June 2020, when the Queen failed to respond to accusations that the royal honors medal is "highly offensive" and resembles the killing of Floyd. Meghan Markle is the first member of the royal family known to be mixed race. The monarch should.". All Rights Reserved. "It's a matter of history, and frankly, we've got more important things to talk about.". It’s possible that those who found Charlotte ugly simply used racial stereotypes to insult her. Royal experts have argued that the royal family never publicly shared support for the movement because aspects of it could be considered "political." "It is long overdue that the Queen should apologize for the monarchy's role in the slave trade," Tatchell told Insider. But other historians “argue the generational distance between Charlotte and her presumed African forebear is so great as to make the suggestion ridiculous,” writesThe Guardian’s Stuart Jeffries. An official statement in January 2020, following their step back announcement, said she recognized the "intense scrutiny" Markle and Harry had faced. How I beat the snobs, by Britain's first black marchioness, as she prepares to marry into one of Britain's most eccentric aristocratic families. But Valdes maintains she was actually black and had dark skin and features consistent with someone of African descent. ", Most of these comments have come and gone without acknowledgment from the palace. "The UK's system of an inherited head of state is racist by default," Tatchell told Insider. Over the years, however, the sensible and clever ones grew out of them. In the peerages of Great Britain, England, Scotland and the United Kingdom there are twenty-seven dukedoms held by twenty-four persons. According to some historians, mixed-race marriages among European royalty often went unacknowledged due to racism within both the royal family and European society at large. In 2020, the royal family's silence over the Black Lives Matter movement did not go unnoticed, and Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey has once again brought to the fore the topic of racism in the monarchy.. Harry said racism was "a large part" of why the couple left the UK, … There is evidence of people with African (largely North African) ancestry in Roman Britain. There are plenty of women outside the British monarchy who have married men from royal families. While some recollections may vary, they are taken very seriously and will be addressed by the family privately.". "Plagued by crime and riddled with street gangs, the troubled Los Angeles neighborhood that Doria Ragland, 60, calls home couldn't be more different to London's leafy Kensington," the 2016 article reads. The Queen had never commented on racism being a factor in the Sussexes' departure prior to her latest statement in the wake of the Oprah interview. In October 1796, ships from the Caribbean carrying over 2,000 black and mixed-race prisoners of war docked at Portsmouth Harbour. Find the perfect Black Britain stock illustrations from Getty Images. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Analysis of autosomal DNA from four individuals from Roman London found that on… “The only way she can be accepted is to pass for white.”. However, much of the supposed evidence of Charlotte’s race is based on accounts of her face: she was widely considered to have the features of a person of African descent. He says Charlotte was related to Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black member of the Portuguese royal family. Account active Meanwhile, the Queen's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, is known for his controversial sense of humor, and has often made remarks during royal engagements that landed him in hot water. Some members of the royal family have taken accountability for their own racist behavior in more recent years. A statement released by Buckingham Palace on behalf of the Queen said the whole family was "saddened to learn" how challenging things had been, adding: "The issues raised, particularly that of race, are concerning. It's hard to imagine the Queen showing support for BLM — and anti-racism in general — when in her 69 years on the throne, she has failed to address the racism that undeniably exists in the institution of the royal family. Edgar the Peaceful, or Edgar I (c. 7 August 943 – 8 July 975), also called the Peaceable, was a king of England (r. 959–75). To Valdes, that’s proof of the literal whitewashing of history. Last month, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, amassed one million followers on their newly-minted Instagram account in record-breaking time—evidence that Britain’s living vestige of history is proving … That, at least, is what people will tell you in republics like France, the United States or the previous … The black trumpeter John Blanke played regularly at the courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII. ", As Prince Harry recently said during a video engagement about racism: "There is no way that we can move forward unless we acknowledge the past.". Harry was the only royal to speak in Markle's defense following a series of discriminatory articles, which implied that the duchess' hometown was "gang-scarred" and "(almost) straight outta Compton" and that she was "fueling human rights abuses, drought, and murder" for eating avocados. The Duchess of Sussex on her wedding day. royal honors medal is "highly offensive" and resembles the killing of Floyd. Join here. The biggest engagement of the year is Britain's Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle. By some measures, the future of the British royal family has never looked so bright. (Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images). While Prince Charles previously acknowledged "the appalling atrocity of the slave trade, and the unimaginable suffering it caused," this is something the Queen has not publicly commented on. Although it's rare for the couple to speak about the topic of racism, it's not unheard of. The reign of Elizabeth I saw the beginning of Britain's first black community. And the fall of the last purely Black dynasty in Britain, the House of Stuart (the Jacobites). Harry said racism was "a large part" of why the couple left the UK, they claim a member of the royal family raised "concerns" over how dark Archie's skin would be before he was born, and Markle said her treatment in the tabloids compared to that of Kate Middleton was racist. While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have engaged with numerous anti-racism organizations and spoke openly about the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, other members who represent the monarchy never spoke up. image caption. Britain’s black population was still indeterminably small at the time; Africans were considered a lesser species by many and … In the Winfrey interview, Markle confirmed that she was banned from seeking professional help when her mental health was deteriorating, and the family was denied security after stepping back from royal life. Here’s a little education on the current Royal Family – the house of Windsor – with some trivia and tidbits on the family that has reigned over the United Kingdom for over 1200 years. Georgia Chambers, a British journalist who is also mixed-race, agrees. On 30 November 1917, King George V issued letters patent defining the styles and titles of members of the royal family; the text of the notice from the London Gazette is:. There is no conclusive evidence to prove Charlotte's heritage, though, and when the Boston Globe enquired about it to Buckingham Palace in 1999, it was dismissed as unimportant. "This has been rumored for years and years," palace spokesman David Buck told the newspaper, according to NPR. Racial descriptions of Royal Blacks and Noble Blacks of Britain: taken from late medieval Books. Make your house a home with this stunning fabric. 21 mind-blowing royal homes revealed: Prince William, Kate Middleton, Princess Beatrice, more. But the residents of Buckingham Palace may not be as white as is commonly assumed. “Furthermore, they say even the evidence that [her Portuguese relative] was black is thin.”. But in Europe, monarchy had generally been reserved for members of elite white families. To young black people in Britain, racism is palpable and has direct consequences. Subscriber Their failure to do that speaks volumes about their white privilege mentality. False stories about Karim's father's profession were contrived in order to make him seem less suitable for the royal household, according to The Guardian. After marrying an aristocrat, Emma McQuiston will soon become Britain's first black marchioness. since, “No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention”. According to some historians, Britain had a black queen in the 18th century: Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.