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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Black Women in Royalty

Now I know I'm late with the whole Royal thing, but please bare with me! Now amongst the whole wedding gown analysis, and scrutiny of the royal pictures I noticed in the Daily Hate Mail, sorry Daily Mail, an article headlined 'Where are the black people?' The View's Sherri Shepherd sparks Royal Wedding uproar. Now should I be surprised that such an headline would appear in the realms of the Daily Mail? Probably not, do I even care that there were only a small number of black faces in the pews? Nope I really do not care, and can't say I'm surprised. Sorry but I don't see any members of the royal family with their 'Black best friends' except for the odd publicity shot with Snoop, so this isn't big news at all. When reading I just thought who the hell is Sherri Shepherd? And got to googling her name to find out.

This article did trigger something that has always intrigued me though which is African Royalty, and also Black people in the European family. Now I know that Black History month isn't until October in the (UK anyway), but I did think it would be nice to share some of my findings with ya. Tonight I will focus on Black Princesses, Countesses, Baronesses,even Queen's, and ladies there may be just a slight chance that one of us can bags Harry!

Queen Charlotte

Queen Charlotte was born on May 19, 1744--the eighth child of the Prince of Mirow, Germany, Charles Louis Frederick, and his wife, Elisabeth Albertina of Saxe-Hildburghausen. Sophie Charlotte was descended directly from an African branch of the Portuguese Royal House, Margarita de Castro y Sousa, through six different ancestral lines which means that she was of mixed African and European heritage. In 1761 Queen Charlotte married George III of England, at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace, London, at the age of 17 years of age becoming the Queen of England and Ireland. Their marriage was said to have been an happy one until the deterioration of her husbands health (lookup the madness of King George). They had 15 children together 13 of whom survived until adulthood. Researchers suggest that Queen Charlotte’s notable African features were most likely played down by artists of the era, because of the prevalence of the slave trade. She was a keen botanist and expanded Kew Gardens, whilst also being noted to have introduced England to the tradition of having Christmas Trees in our homes, and had the first one in 1800. She was the grandmother of Queen Victoria, and is the great great great grandmother of Queen Elizabeth 11.

Princess Angela of Liechtenstein

Princess Angela of Liechtenstein (3 February 1958 in Panama) is the wife of Prince Maximilian of. Liechtenstein. She was born Angela Brown and attended school in New York, where she went on to become an award winning fashion designer. This lucky lady married her prince in 2000, in a wedding dress that she designed. They have since had a child together making Princess Angela and her son, Prince Alfons (b. London 18 May 2001), the highest ranked black members of a reigning European dynasty. Princess Angela is 11 years her husbands senior, ya see that though! Black don't Crack! Lucky lady!

Princess Akosua Busia

Princess Akosua Busia of the Royal Family of Wenchi, Ghana (born December 30, 1966) It's only while watching the Colour Purple Reunion on Oprah the other day that I realised that the character who played Nettie is actually a Ghanain Princess. Yep she really is! The Colour Purple was Princess Akosua's first acting début, but she went on to star in other films, and also wrote a song with Stevie Wonder. Everyone remembers Boyz in The Hood, well this Princess married (and divorced) the director of this film John Singleton.

Princess Esther Kamatari

Princess Esther Kamatari of Burundi (born 1951) was brought up in the Burundi royal family until her father the King was overthrown and the monarchy abolished in 1966. Her father was assassinated and Princess Esther settled in exile in France where she became a writer, a humanitarian activist in regards to her homeland of Burundi, and most notably one of the first top African models to break into the European catwalk industry.

Baroness Cecile de Massy of Monaco

Baroness Cecile de Massy of Monaco hails from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and is the fourth wife of Christian Louis Baron de Massy, the only nephew of the late;Prince Rainier of Monaco. They have two children together, and this lucky lady spends her days no doubt shopping, dining out, and running her charitable foundation Ladies Lunch Monte Carlo who raise funds for the benefit of underprivileged children.

Countess Mary Von Habsburg of Austria

Countess Mary Von Habsburg of Austria married Ferdinand Leopold Joseph Count von Habsburg of Austria who's family descends from William the Conqueror in Nairobi in 1999. The Countess hails from Sudan and there was apparently a lot of controversy regarding their marriage in royal circles because of the Countess' class and ethnicity. This of course had no effect on the couple who have since had 3 children, all of whom were born in Africa where they currently reside.

Well I hope that I've enlightened some of you out there, let me know what you think fellow BDSSers was it nice to hear some of the fairy tales that us sisters or commoners can relate to? Holla at ya girl, I'm off to find me a Prince....


  1. Great writting Bi I definitely feel more enlightenen so thank you because it is nice to be able to see representations of which you can relate to!

    I did not see the articule in the DM or hear about the supposed 'uproar' caused by Sherri Shepherd so it's good you took what was possibly a negative story and brought us something good!

    Personally really enjoyed watching the Royal Wedding in terms of the whole ceremony, the dress, his suit, the love, the fairytale from 'commoner' to princess tagline, however did I think a common black women could bag a prince...NOPE so this post brings hope! haha

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  3. i deleted the comment because i wanted to add links to the traditional dance :0)
    The above link is of part of our traditional dance

    That was very interesting Bi i loved that got me looking up black royalty lol, now let me tell you about my history no i am not a princess but i am a descendent of Shaka Zulu, i come from a tribe called the Ngoni tribe which is also spelt Nguni who when Shaka begun to get violent we and the Mpezeni tribe took off and spilt ending up in parts of South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi, you may want to look it up on Wikipedia, oh this is on my fathers side. Now you all know my history a little more :0)

  4. Thank you madeformakeup for sharing your history with me I will now be looking up Shaka Zulu and the tribes you mentioned! It's so interesting looking up 'our' history, which is so often not in the mainstream history books that are fed to us at school.

    I have been researching African, African - American, and African - British history since I was very young and find it so inspirational to see how many endlessly great people we have behind us. I am apparently a descendant of Mary Seacole who is often overlooked compared to Florence Nightingale. Look her up :) I'm glad you both liked it I will be doing more posts like this in the future x

  5. I forgot to mention that one of my all time favourite plays is Black Heroes in the Hall of Fame. I took my eldest son to see it years ago and it was amazing because it shows look a likes of historical black people from past to present. So had Queens such as Queen Charlotte, Neferetiti, Cleopatra and Kings, Singers, Sportsmen and women, plus activists such as Martin Luther King, Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X. If it comes back on tour again please do see it!

  6. Yea it is a shame because black people do future, in history we have done and continue to do amazing things. We get sideline and pushed aside as though we do not matter. Going back in your history is important to find out who you are and or what your people contributed.

    Wow i have heard about Mary Seacole my mum was telling me a bout her a few months ago, well girl you come from great history its what should help us know that we can do better, be better because we come from strong people who paved our way, even if you don't come from rich history just being black and knowing the his of slavery should sail us forward. The bible talks about my people perish for a lack of knowledge and it is so true. okay this is going way off course but the use of the word nigger for me by many black people is just upsetting to me and i will never understand it.

  7. Loving the post! It was lovely waking up to read about black Princess's and not of the 'coming to America' variety lol!

    No Princesses of Zamunda in this post!

  8. (repost)Claims of African ancestry: Queen Charlotte

    Mario de Valdes y Cocom, a historian of the African diaspora, has argued that Allan Ramsay, a noted abolitionist, frequently painted the Queen in works said to emphasize the alleged mulatto appearance of Charlotte, and that Ramsay's coronation portrait of Charlotte was sent to the colonies and was used by abolitionists as a de facto support for their cause. Valdes y Cocom goes on to state that, along with descriptions of a "mulatto face" (as, supposedely, Baron Stockmar, whom Valdes y Cocom wrongly considers Queen Charlotte's personal physician, wrote in his autobiography), the Queen's features had also been described as Vandalic, as exemplified by a poem written for the occasion of her marriage ("most literary of these allusions", according to Valdes y Cocom:

    "Descended from the warlike Vandal race,
    She still preserves that title in her face.
    Tho' shone their triumphs o'er Numidia's plain,
    And Andalusian fields their name retain;
    They but subdued the southern world with arms,
    She conquers still with her triumphant charms,
    O! born for rule, - to whose victorious brow
    The greatest monarch of the north must bow."
    Valdes y Cocom does not seem to take notice that the Vandals were a Germanic people originating from Northern Europe, that migrated first to Andalusia (modern southern Spain) in 409 AD, and afterwords to North Africa in 429 AD (namely to Numidia, were they established the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa), and that this poem is a eulogy linking Queen Charlotte to that distant Germanic nation, further straining the credulity of Charlotte's supposed Sub-Saharan African ethnicity. However, the phrase Vandal race, used to describe Queen Charlotte, is linked with an official ducal title of the House of Mecklenburg: Princeps Vandalorum, i.e. Prince of Wends, because of their overt Slavic origin.

    All this has led Mario de Valdes y Cocom to inquire about her ancestry and research her genealogy. Still according to Valdes y Cocom, one of the possibilities for Queen Charlotte's supposed racial features is that they were a concentration of traits inherited through three to six lines from a nine times removed ancestor of hers, Margarita de Castro e Souza, a 15th century Portuguese noblewoman who traced her ancestry six generations earlier to King Afonso III of Portugal and one of his lovers, Madragana.

    more on next comment ->

  9. Critics of this theory argue that Margarita's and Madragana's distant perch in the queen's family tree, respectively 9 and 15 generations removed, makes any presumed African ancestry, Northern or sub-Saharan, negligible and no more significant in Charlotte than in any other member of any German royal house at that time, and therefore that Charlotte could hardly be accurately described as "mulatto" or "African". Like everyone else, Charlotte had 32,768 ancestors in the 15th generation up her family tree, and she shared descent from Madragana with a large proportion of Europe's royalty and nobility.

    Even more, Valdez y Cocom assumed that Madragana was a Black African woman. In fact, a single author, Duarte Nunes de Leão, described her as a Moor, that is to say, in the context of the Iberian Reconquista, someone of Islamic religion, regardless of actual ethnic origin (and that could have been Arab, North African Berber, or Muladi - native Iberian European Christians who converted to Islam after the arrival of the Moors, all of whom can be described as Caucasian or White). Modern researchers, however, believe Madragana to have been a Mozarab, that is to say an Iberian Christian living under Muslim control, of Sephardi Jewish origin.

    Valdez y Cocom has also argued, trying to defend the African origin of Queen Charlotte, that the Royal Household itself, at the time of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation in 1952, referred to both her Asian and African bloodlines in an apologia it published defending her position as head of the Commonwealth. This is denied by Buckingham Palace

    (anomymous)- Not that I'm racist or anything, but I highly doubt there is any trace of African blood in the royal family of Britain; however I do agree that many european royal families might have middle eastern bloodlines...

    If it makes you angry what I posted, perhaps the glimmer of light can be put on the royal family of Monaco; where Albert fathered a son "Alexandre" with a black woman he met while on a flight(so I read in a paper a while back)...

  10. If it makes you angry what I posted, perhaps the glimmer of light can be put on the royal family of Monaco; where Albert fathered a son "Alexandre" with a black woman he met while on a flight(so I read in a paper a while back)...

    No Anon that doesn't make me angry because I don't agree with you. Perhaps you should look up 'Mitochondrial Eve' believe me the Royal Family have African in them as do you.

  11. I have nothing wrong with if I have African roots in me or not(my opa use to joke that I had African roots case his skin was so, so tan), I like black people... I just wanted to read up a bit if it was true that Queen Charlotte has African in her, and when I read up on her on wiki(course wiki is never 100% accurate, anyways), but below it kind of argues the fact and so on.

    ? Does it really matter what color you are, I mean who cares if your black, white, yellow, brown or red everybody should just love life and what it has to offer; so why not embrace all races and not just one.

    I have about 7% Jewish in me(and 8 other ethnic backgrounds), I was told that since I have Jewish in me that I descend from Abraham and Issac, which I read up on that they could very well have been moors(which is kind of cool).

    I just like accurate/facts and sometimes it's hard to get them, because it goes way... back and data has been proven that there can be mistakes and faults within the lines of history backgrounds and such.

    Another ? is in the bible Adam and Eve were the only 2 on earth to be created first, right? we've been taut that they were white/moor and even prehaps black, but heres another ? we all descend from those 2 right, which is a tricky fact to believe, but perhaps we're all related to one another; through a derect line of a very distant relative... All in all, it's all very confusing.

  12. @Anon I appreciate your comments. Yes it is easy to be dismissive and say I should embrace all races (which I do) this post was written to educate/entertain readers on some historical and black royal figures who in general do know get frequently acknowledged in the media. Having been educated in England I know that such sources of knowledge can be difficult to find. Yes it does matter what colour I am, we do not live in a world where colour does not matter.

  13. Great post! Thanks for sharing the history. I am African-American and just learning about Black History Month in UK this year - I am loving learning about British Black History - I came across your post while researching Queen Charlotte - my home city is named for her - sparking the question for me - was she truly Black royalty - I think she was :)
    wishing you all the best -