Meghan Markle attended her first Christmas celebration at the queen’s lunch with Prince Harry this week, and controversy was already in full force when one of the royal family members chose to wear an offensive brooch.
Princess Michael of Kent, who’s married to one of Queen Elizabeth’s cousins, chose to wear the brooch at the Christmas lunch held at Buckingham Palace. It’s an antique piece that was made in the 18th century by Blackamoor, the designer of a line of jewelry known for depicting people of color in roles of servitude. The particular brooch that the princess was wearing at the first Christmas lunch attended by Meghan Markle features a black man wearing a turban, appearing to be a servant of some sort.
TMZ reports that Princess Michael took the criticism to heart and has vowed to permanently “retire” the Blackamoor brooch. A spokesperson for the princess released a statement expressing that she’s “very sorry and distressed” about the incident. The jewelry piece was a gift that she’d worn on many other occasions without controversy, the statement added.
A source at Kensington Palace claims Princess Michael was in no way trying to insult Meghan Markle by wearing the brooch at the queen’s Christmas lunch. The princess has “learned her lesson” and will no longer wear it.
— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) December 22, 2017
Meghan Markle and Princess Michael reportedly didn’t sit at the same table at the queen’s lunch, but it’s known to be an intimate gathering. It’s unknown if Prince Harry’s fiancee was offended by the brooch, but she’s shared her experiences with racism since she’s biracial. Whether Princess Michael was trying to make a statement about Harry’s engagement to Meghan is uncertain, but she’s being slammed lacking good judgment over wearing the brooch at Queen Elizabeth’s event that included Meghan Markle.
According to the report, Princess Michael is no stranger to racial controversy. In 2004, she told a room of African-American patrons at a New York restaurant to “go back to the colonies.” It went from bad to worse when she said she thinks the people in Africa are “adorable.”
At this point, Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace haven’t released an official comment on the brooch matter.