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Will Meghan Markle be the first black British Royal? Not so Fast…

Seems the Royal History is a bit “darker” than we thought…

I have a niece who is a dead ringer for Charlotte.

Britain’s black queen: Will Meghan Markle really be the first mixed-race royal?

A portrait of Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III, and American actress Meghan Markle, who is engaged to Prince Harry.

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 bi-racial.

“We got us a Black princess ya’ll,” GirlTyler exulted. “Shout out to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Their wedding will be my Super Bowl.”

But Markle, whose mother is black and whose father is white, may not be the first mixed-race royal.

Some historians suspect that Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III who bore the king 15 children, was of African descent.

Historian Mario De Valdes y Cocom argues that Queen Charlotte was directly descended from a black branch of the Portuguese royal family: Alfonso III and his concubine, Ouruana, a black Moor.

In the 13th century, “Alfonso III of Portugal conquered a little town named Faro from the Moors,” said Valdes, a researcher for Frontline PBS. “He demanded [the governor’s] daughter as a paramour. He had three children with her.”

According to Valdes, one of their sons, Martin Alfonso, married into the noble de Sousa family, who also had black ancestry. Queen Charlotte had African blood from both families.

Valdes, who grew up in Belize, began researching Queen Charlotte’s African ancestry in 1967, after he moved to Boston.

“I had heard these stories from my Jamaican nanny, Etheralda “TeeTee” Cole,” Valdes recalled.

He discovered that a royal physician, Baron Christian Friedrich Stockmar, described Queen Charlotte as “small and crooked, with a true mulatto face.”

Sir Walter Scott  wrote that she was “ill-colored” and called her family “a bunch of ill-colored orangutans.”

One prime minister once wrote of Queen Charlotte: “Her nose is too wide and her lips too thick.”

In several British colonies, Queen Charlotte was often honored by blacks who were convinced from her portraits and likeness on coins that she had African ancestry.

Valdes became fascinated by official portraits of Queen Charlotte in which her features, he said, were visibly “negroid.”

“I started a systematic geneological search,” said Valdes, which is how he traced her ancestry back to the mixed-race branch of the Portuguese royal family.

Charlotte, who was born May 19, 1744, was the youngest daughter of Duke Carl Ludwig Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Princess Elisabeth Albertine of Saxe-Hildburghausen. She was a 17-year-old German princess when she traveled to England to wed King George III, who later went to war with his American colonies and lost rather badly. His mother most likely chose Charlotte to be his bride.

“Back in London, the king’s enthusiasm mounted daily,” wrote Janice Hadlow in the book, “A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III.” “He had acquired a portrait of Charlotte and was said to be mighty fond of it, but won’t let any mortal look at it.”

King George III ordered that gowns be made and waiting for his new bride when she arrived in London.

He met Charlotte for the first time on their wedding day, Sept. 8, 1761.

“Introduced to the king, Charlotte ‘threw herself at his feet, he raised her up, embraced her and led her through the garden up the steps into the palace,’ ” Hadlow wrote. “Some later reminiscences asserted that at the moment of their meeting, the king had been shocked by Charlotte’s appearance.”

In a portrait painted by Sir Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte’s hair is piled high in curly ringlets. Her neck is long and her skin appears to be café-au-lait.

Ramsay, Valdes said, was an abolitionist married to the niece of Lord Mansfield, the judge who ruled in 1772 that slavery should be abolished in the British Empire. And Ramsay was uncle by marriage to Dido Elizabeth Lindsay, the black grand-niece of Lord Mans field. Dido’s life story was recently recounted in the movie, “Belle.”

In 1999, the London Sunday Times published an article with the headline: “REVEALED: THE QUEEN’S BLACK ANCESTORS.”

“The connection had been rumored but never proved,” the Times wrote. “The royal family has hidden credentials that make its members appropriate leaders of Britain’s multicultural society. It has black and mixed-raced royal ancestors who have never been publicly acknowledged. An American genealogist has established that Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III, was directly descended from the illegitimate son of an African mistress in the Portuguese royal house.”

After the Times story, The Boston Globe hailed Valdes’ research as ground breaking. Charlotte, who died in 1818, passed on her mixed-race heritage to her granddaughter, Queen Victoria, and to Britain’s present day monarch, Queen Elizabeth.

Some scholars in England dismissed the evidence as weak —  and beside the point.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2017 in Black History, General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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British Royalty to Add Some Color

Prince Harry’s engagement to American Meghan Markle has caused a stir among some of the subjects –

Why Meghan Markle’s Engagement To Prince Harry Is Historic

The “Suits” star will be the first American to officially marry a British royal.

Actress Meghan Markle’s engagement to trophy boyfriend Prince Harry on Monday marks a major shift in British royal pairings.

Though the 36-year-old television star’s engagement is much less unusual than it would have been in previous generations as traditions become more progressive, Markle’s upcoming ascension to the royal family is still groundbreaking in several ways.

She’s a woman of color.

When Markle first began dating Prince Harry in 2016, British tabloids ran stories making racist comments about the actress, whose father is white and mother is black.

One columnist from The Daily Mail wrote that if the new couple had children, “the Windsors will thicken their watery, thin blue blood and Spencer pale skin and ginger hair with some rich and exotic DNA,” and described Markle’s mother as “a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the tracks.”

Another Daily Mail story about the actress’ hometown of Los Angeles contained the headline, “Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton,” referring to the LA suburb where the rap group N.W.A. formed. The writer also wondered if Harry would visit the “gang-scarred home of her mother.”

In a rare public statement last November, Prince Harry condemned the pieces’ “racial undertones” and the ongoing “abuse and harassment” Markle and her family experienced.

In 2015, Markle wrote in Elle Magazine about racism she and her parents have faced ― and how her father advised her to “draw your own box” when needing to identify her race.

There was a mandatory census I had to complete in my English class — you had to check one of the boxes to indicate your ethnicity: white, black, Hispanic or Asian. There I was (my curly hair, my freckled face, my pale skin, my mixed race) looking down at these boxes, not wanting to mess up, but not knowing what to do. You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other — and one half of myself over the other. My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. ‘Because that’s how you look, Meghan,’ she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn’t bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn’t tick a box. I left my identity blank — a question mark, an absolute incomplete — much like how I felt.

When I went home that night, I told my dad what had happened. He said the words that have always stayed with me: “If that happens again, you draw your own box.”

She’ll be the first American to officially marry a British royal.

The Los Angeles native is not the first American to marry a British royal, but is the first whose relationship has been officially accepted by the royal family.

In 1936, King Edward VIII famously abdicated the throne to marry twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson after their relationship caused a royal scandal.

Markle, like Simpson, is divorced, but the acceptance of the former shows more tolerant social conventions over time. Prince Harry’s father Prince Charles divorced his mother, Princess Diana, and in 2005, married the twice-divorced Camilla Parker-Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall — though their wedding was a civil ceremony.

She was raised Catholic.

Until 2015, British rules barred members of the line of royal succession from marrying Catholics, as Queen Elizabeth II serves as the head of the Anglican Church.

But the revised law now allows Markle, who attended a Catholic high school, to marry Prince Harry.

The British Parliament’s changes to the law on royal succession also included the removal of biases toward male heirs ― which now allows, for example, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s daughter, Charlotte, to join the line of succession directly after her older brother, George, even if she ends up having other male siblings.

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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