On Wednesday, actress Meghan Markle met Prince Harry’s extended family for the first time at Queen Elizabeth’s annual pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace.
The event, which ideally would have been an occasion of great joy, was allegedly super awkward due to one problematic family member, Princess Michael of Kent.
For the night, Princess Michael wore a sizable blackamoor brooch on her left shoulder. Considering the fact that Markle is biracial and the loaded history behind blackamoor symbols being used to romanticized the subservient roles given to Moors by Europeans, Princess Michael tried it.
As noted by NYU’s Anneke Rautenbach: Blackamoors—a trope in Italian decorative art especially common in pieces of furniture, but also appearing in paintings, jewelry, and textiles. The motif emerged as an artistic response to the European encounter with the Moors—dark-skinned Muslims from North Africa and the Middle East who came to occupy various parts of Europe during the Middle Ages. Commonly fixed in positions of servitude—as footmen or waiters, for example—the figures personify fantasies of racial conquest.
But apparently this isn’t Princess Michael’s first time being accused of racist behavior.
As noted by The Cut via Lainey Lui, Princess Michael of Kent has been accused of racism in the past. Back in 2004, she reportedly told Black diners at a restaurant to “go back to the colonies.” Shortly after, to prove just how non-racist she is, the royal said: “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.”
Someone must have forgot to tell Princess Michael that Prince Harry is fiercely loyal to his bride to be. And that he —and the many people who support this union— aren’t going to stand for subtle or blatant racism and exclusion.